JERUSALEM — The United States has offered Israel an incentive package to reinstate a moratorium on West Bank settlement building in an effort to revive stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, the Associated Press said it was told by diplomatic sources late Saturday.
The deal stipulates that Israel would stop settlement construction for 90 days in the West Bank, AP said it was told by its sources. The moratorium would not apply to east Jerusalem, and the U.S. will not ask Israel to extend the new moratorium when it expires.
U.S.-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in September after a nearly two-year hiatus, but they quickly stalled over the issue of settlement expansion.
The Palestinians say they will not resume peace talks until Israel stops building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — territory they claim as parts of their future state.
Israel insists the issue of settlements will become null and void once final borders are agreed upon.
AP said according to its diplomatic sources, the incentive package includes U.S. commitments to fight international resolutions critical of Israel. The U.S. administration will also ask Congress to supply 20 stealth fighter jets to Israel, AP said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other U.S. officials last week. Netanyahu convened a meeting of his inner cabinet Saturday night to brief them on his meetings.