Israeli political sources have revealed a number of additional safeguards that Tel Aviv is demanding from the U.S. administration in return for its announcement of a "partial freeze" on the construction of Jewish settlements in the Occupied West Bank.
The sources indicated that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has requested that U.S. President Barack Obama commit to the assurances that were given by his predecessor, George Bush, in a letter sent out in April 2004 to then Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. It included assurances of Washington's support for the principle of annexing major settlement blocs to Israel under any agreement for the demarcation of the Palestinian state's boarders as well as the rejection of the return of Palestinian refugees to the territories occupied since 1948.
The sources referred to a "positive initial American reaction" to the Tel Aviv demands as Netanyahu's requests "are usually listened to by the senior officials in the US administration."
It is noteworthy that Washington has made a pledge to a package of "rare commitments" and guarantees in return for Israel's consent to partially halt settlement activities in the West Bank. The commitments include pledges to "provide Israel with advanced combat means, thwart any Arab attempt to tackle the issue of the Palestinian state in the UN Security Council during the coming year in addition to a commitment to prevent the Palestinian side from negotiating over the settlement issue away from the direct negotiations, which will resolve the fate of settlements in the framework of a permanent agreement."