Prospects for peace in the Middle East have dimmed with claims that Israel and America have agreed a secret deal on settlements. The Palestinians rejected outright any settlement compromise on the West Bank, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his call for talks:
“I call again on the Palestinian leadership, on the leaders of the Palestinian Authority. Let’s meet, let’s make peace, political peace and economic peace. Let’s cooperate on these things.” But the Palestinians say peace talks cannot be revived unless Israel halts the construction of settlements in the West Bank. Writing to his American counterpart Barack Obama, President Mahmoud Abbas said there is no room for compromise. The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that the US is considering allowing Israel to complete thousands of settlement projects where work has already begun. The Palestinians say such a deal would prove America has no real control over Israel.