- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The United States is poised to demand Israel freeze part of its disputed settlement activity as part of the framework peace deal being forged by Secretary of State John Kerry, an Army Radio report said on Wednesday.

The report said the United States wants to stop builds in isolated settlement areas that are outside the main West Bank blocs that Israel wants to keep untouched, Ynet News said.

Mr. Kerry is due to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday night in Paris. Part of their talks will deal with an extension of a framework deal to keep talks progressing beyond the present April 29 deadline, until the end of 2014, Ynet News reported.

The talks started in July 2013, but haven’t seen much success. One major dispute has focused around settlement activity. The Palestinians want property borders returned to their pre-1967 lines; the Israelis say their construction builds are on lands they justifiably won during war.

Lately, Palestinians are angry at Israel’s plans to build more than 11,700 new homes in settlement areas — and that’s just in the last year. Mr. Abbas has said he is reluctant to discuss peace terms while the builds continue.

Israeli government officials declined to speak on the Army Radio report and the supposed U.S. demand to stop certain settlement builds. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has stated repeatedly that settlement construction is not a violation of any boundary agreements with the Palestinians.

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