Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli lawmakers today that it was the US that dropped the idea of a three-month Israeli settlement freeze this fall.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to deflect rising criticism at home over stalled peace talks Monday by telling Israeli lawmakers that it was the US, not Israel, that rejected a settlement freeze extension this past fall.
"There was an American decision not to follow the track,'' said a government official who confirmed the remarks but was not authorized to speak for attribution. "The reporting out there that Israel rejected the American package is simply erroneous.''
The rare attempt to rehash the recent breakdown in negotiations with the Palestinians comes in response to recent allegations in the press and among political allies that Mr. Netanyahu bears responsibility for the current deadlock and hasn't done enough to move negotiations forward.
Faced with a successful Palestinian drive to enlist countries to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state – with or without a peace deal, he is increasingly seen as putting Israel on the defensive – and leading it toward further isolation internationally.