Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he is convinced that the ministers in his government would approve a proposal that advances the peace process and at the same time preserves Israel's interests.
"We are conducting intensive talks with the United States in order to reach understandings which will advance the peace process," said Netanyahu during a speech at the Technion Institute of Technology.
"If I were to receive a proposal that advances peace and also preserves Israel's interests, primarily security, I will bring it before the cabinet and I have no doubt the other ministers will approve it," said Netanyahu.
On Thursday morning, a U.S. official told Haaretz that the U.S. will demand that Israel refrain from construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as part of a 90-day settlement freeze Secretary Hillary Clinton has requested in exchange for a package of incentives.
Netanyahu met with Shas Chairman Eli Yishai and Minister Ariel Attias on Wednesday in a bid to convince them not to vote down the settlement freeze when the motion is brought to cabinet.
But the U.S. official told Haaretz that "If the moratorium deal goes through, we will continue to press for quiet throughout East Jerusalem during the 90 days, regardless of what Bibi [Netanyahu] is telling Shas now."
The official added that President Barack Obama had committed in an oral message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last April that the U.S. expects both sides to refrain from "actions that would seriously undermine trust," including in East Jerusalem, and would respond with "steps, actions, or adjustments in policy" to any such provocative actions as long as negotiations are underway.
The U.S. administration has defined "actions that would seriously undermine trust" as including major housing announcements, demolitions, or evictions in East Jerusalem.
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