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Israel Denies Deal To Halt Settlements

Mon., June 9, 1997

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators sought to revive the stalled Middle East peace process Sunday, but their meeting began only after Israel extracted a denial of reports it has agreed to stop building Jewish settlements.

Israeli media had reported that the government had agreed to freeze settlement construction - which would contradict repeated statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Sunday, Netanyahu’s office threatened to cancel the meeting unless the Palestinians denied one Palestinian official’s comment that Israel had accepted “a pause” in construction.

Informed of the Israeli protest, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied Israel had agreed to such a freeze.

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