Report: Israel to delay announcement of settlement construction

Secretary of State John Kerry is schedule to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Jerusalem to further negotiations over a final status agreement with Palestinians. 

While Kerry is expected to present a framework for an agreement, Israel is reportedly putting an announcement that could jeopardize a peace proposal on hold.

An Israeli official told The New York Times on Wednesday that Israel will delay its announcement for additional settlement construction while Kerry is in the Middle East.

“We will respect John Kerry and not act to spite him,” the official said. “A day here or there makes no difference."

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The Times said the unidentified source requested anonymity because of “the delicate diplomacy around the issue.”

In 2010, Israel snubbed the United States by announcing new construction plans during Vice President Biden’s visit.

Netanyahu’s interior minister had defied the prime minister by making that announcement. This time, the prime minster’s office has coordinated with its ministers, the newspaper’s source said.

Kerry will present Israel and the Palestinians with broad outlines of a final status deal, the State Department said earlier this week. Since kick-starting talks between the two sides last summer, Kerry has aimed to achieve an agreement by the end of April.

Israel has so far complied with its promise to release Palestinian prisoners in multiple rounds. The third of four rounds happened on Tuesday.

Israel’s expected settlement plan announcement, however, is expected to impede further negotiations.