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Obama makes "far-reaching promises" to Israel in exchange for extension of settlement freeze

Newspaper reports in Israel claim that US President Barack Obama has pledged to veto any anti-Israel initiatives by the UN Security Council over the coming year. This is part of a package of "far-reaching promises" made to the Israeli leadership in exchange for a two-month extension of the now-expired settlement freeze.


The report in Ma'ariv cites a letter sent by President Obama to Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, via US Middle East Peace convoy George Mitchell, in which the Obama administration pledges to make "rare goodwill gestures" if Mr. Netanyahu agrees to extend the settlement freeze. These include "supplying Israel with advanced weapons, along with other security assurances" and suppressing any Arab attempt to raise the Palestine issue in the Security Council in the coming year; the Palestinians will also be prevented from raising the settlement issue outside the negotiation room, as the matter is supposed to part of the final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

At the moment, claims the report, Mr. Netanyahu is refusing Washington's proposal. However, if the offer is refused outright, the US may consider recognising the pre-June 1967 "green line" as the basis of negotiations on the borders of Israel and a nascent Palestinian state.

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