Israel says it could compromise on the building of settlements in the West Bank, two days before a 10-month moratorium on construction is set to expire. Israel is willing “to consider extending the freeze on construction, provided that the freeze will not be total,” a senior official told Agence France-Presse, a major shift from Israel’s usually staunch position against it. Benjamin Netanyahu had said the freeze would not be extended, a stance which nearly caused Mahmoud Abbas to walk out of the Middle East peace talks. President Obama strongly supports extending the ban and much of the international community considers the settlements illegal. About half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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