In bid to end crisis, Netanyahu and Clinton agree to include core issues in proximity talks with Palestinians; in addition, prime minister to approve prisoner release, Israel to ease Gaza Strip blockade Roni Sofer
The above understandings allayed tensions between Jerusalem and Washington ahead of the PM's upcoming trip to the US. Now, officials at the Prime Minister's Office are hoping for a meeting between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama.
The US Administration recently pressed Israel to start discussing the question of borders as the first core issue. The argument put forth by the US was that the moment borders are agreed upon, there would be no construction freeze problem and each side would be able to build in its own territory.
Meanwhile, US Special Envoy George Mitchell will be arriving in Jerusalem Sunday and meet Netanyahu. The prime minister will inform Mitchell, and possibly the Israeli public as well, of the series of gestures he agreed to in order to facilitate the proximity talks with the Palestinians.
The gestures will apparently include much stricter supervision by the PM himself over east Jerusalem construction. According to senior government ministers, this would mean a slowdown in Jewish construction - both government-funded and private - beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem.
Over the weekend, the prime minister worked on drafting his speech at the AIPAC Conference next week. Netanyahu's aides said that the speech will be "powerful and significant" and will likely deal with Israel-US ties in an effort to allay the recent tensions as result of Israel's construction announcement in east Jerusalem during President Joe Biden's visit.