Israel could freeze settlements for 9 months-official

Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:20am EDT

JERUSALEM, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Israel could freeze its settlement activity in the occupied West Bank for nine months or so as part of a U.S. effort to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, an Israeli government official said on Friday.

Officials have indicated previously that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be ready to freeze much settlement activity for six months in an effort to meet Palestinian conditions for restarting peace negotiations.

"Israel will agree to extend the freeze beyond six months -- possibly nine months, but less than a year," the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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