debkafile's exclusive sources report that already Friday, March 12, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave in to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's peremptory demand for a moratorium
on construction in East Jerusalem for the duration of indirect talks with the Palestinians.
This was in addition to the freeze he accepted earlier on settlement construction on the West Bank.
Netanyahu did not disclose this concession to the full cabinet meeting Sunday, March 14, only to the inner cabinet of seven which he convened Saturday night to discuss the spiraling crisis in relations with Washington.
According to sources familiar with the content of Clinton's phone call to the prime minister, she did not allow it to proceed like a normal conversation between the high officials of two governments, but simply read out a prepared list of Obama administration demands in relation to the talks with the Palestinians US envoy George Mitchell would be getting off the ground in the coming days.
Netanyahu was not given a chance to agree or disagree; Clinton presented those demands as an ultimatum.
Her key requirement was for Israel to freeze construction in Jerusalem as well as the West Bank for the four months of indirect negotiations with the Palestinians and then continue the suspension past that stage after direct talks begin.
Sunday, Netanyahu instructed the relevant planning authorities to suspend authorizations for new building – or even alterations such as balconies – in all the outlying Jerusalem suburbs of Ramot Eshkol, French Hill, Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yakov, Har Homah and Gilo.