Netanyahu Cautions Against False Reports on Settlement Talks With U.S.

'We are in the process of things, and therefore it's incorrect to relate to the details,' Netanyahu tells Likud ministers.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 16, 2017.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting on March 16, 2017.
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that there were many erroneous reports regarding Israel's negotiations with the U.S. on its settlement policy, and that he wouldn’t relate to the details.

"There are many faulty reports about contacts with the Americans over the settlements. We are in the process of things, and therefore it's incorrect to relate to the details," he told his Likud ministers.   

Netanyahu was referring to the string of talks held between Israeli and American officials in an effort to reach understandings concerning the settlements. U.S. President Donald Trump's envoy Jason Greenblatt recently visited Israel, where he also met with Netanyahu. Greenblatt had used the term “slowdown” as guiding principle for the understandings on limitations on settlement construction, said a senior Israeli official. But it is not clear what this term actually means in practice in this context.

Last week, Israeli officials flew to Washington to continue the talks, but after four days of intensive negotiations did not reach a final and comprehensive agreement on reining in settlement construction. Talks are set to continue in the coming days to resolve remaining differences. A joint statement published early Friday said Israel is, in principle, willing to curb settlement construction in a way that will take into account Trump's intent to advance the peace process.

Also in his meeting with Likud ministers, Netanyahu said that there was no news regarding his negotiations with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on the opening of the new broadcasting corporation. Last weekend, the prime minister called for elections if plans to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority with a new public broadcaster are not scrapped, intensifying a political crisis on the matter.

The two are set to meet on Sunday for the first time since Netanyahu announced he intends on dismantling the corporation, which was slated to launch on April 30.

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