Palestinians easing demands for settlement freeze



RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A senior Palestinian official says the Palestinians are ready to drop their demand for a complete settlement freeze to get peace talks with Israel back on track.

Talks have been stalled since September over Palestinian demands for a halt to all Israeli housing construction in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

In the absence of negotiations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to reconcile with the rival Hamas militant group and pledged to ask the U.N. for recognition of their independence.

But with both of those efforts now in trouble, the official says the Palestinians are willing to tolerate limited settlement construction if Israel accepts a recent peace plan floated by President Barack Obama.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because no final decisions have been made.