Israeli Prime Minister refuses to budge over Jerusalem construction

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is amenable to an interim agreement in the West Bank that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders.

Netanyahu considers such an interim step a possible way to unfreeze the stalled political process that was created because of the Palestinian leadership's refusal to resume talks on a final settlement. However, the prime minister insists on delaying discussion on the final status of Jerusalem to the end of the process, and refuses to agree to a freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem, Ha'aretz informs.

There was no immediate comment from either leader on the front-page report published as the U.S. Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, was expected to meet separately with Netanyahu and Abbas, in a fresh push to resume their stalled negotiations.

Netanyahu was said to be seeking a package deal with Washington to delay further discussion on settlements by forging a Palestinian state with provisional borders in exchange for which Israel would avoid unspecified "provocations.", Reuters reports.

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