'U.S.-Israel row over West Bank settlements to be resolved soon'
Incoming Israeli ambassador to U.S. Michael Oren gave an interview on Wednesday to Israel Radio.
The incoming Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, said on Wednesday that he expected the ongoing dispute between the Israeli and American governments over West Bank settlement construction to be resolved soon.
"[U.S. President Barack] Obama welcomed [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's policy speech, but the settlement question is still on the table," he told Israel Radio. "But there has been some progress made on that front over the past few days. Both parties have expressed their determined will to put an end to this bone of contention, and some novel ideas have been proposed."
He said he was not authorized to elaborate on the nature of these "novel ideas."
"I don't foresee us clashing with the Americans," Oren told Israel Radio. "We overcame the crisis in 1956 [during the Sinai Campaign against Egypt] and the loan guarantee crisis of [President George H.W.] Bush with [then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak] Shamir."
Oren also said that while Netanyahu is ready to negotiate without preconditions, the Palestinians, for the first time, demand a complete freeze of construction in the settlements as a precondition for peace talks.
"The Palestinians would have to give up on this condition, because it's a new one," he said. "If they do it, we'll the resumption of the peace talks very soon."
Oren said that Israel will not return to the 1967 borders, because they are indefensible.
"A clear majority of Israelis are against it, and the Americans understand it is not feasible," he continued. "The borders are indefensible, and that was one of the reasons the war started. And after the war ended, when the Americans formulated the language of UN Resolution 242, then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk explicitly wrote that one of the goals of the resolution is to prevent a return to the 1967 borders."