John Kerry, Shimon Peres
John Kerry, Shimon PeresIsrael news photo: Flash 90

United States Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly proposed that Israel freeze construction east of the 1949 armistice line if it wants to hold talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry met Thursday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

It was not clear if Netanyahu responded favorably to Kerry’s suggestion of a new construction freeze. Israel formerly froze construction for several months in an attempt to bring the PA back to the negotiating table. The PA agreed to talks shortly before the freeze ended, but refused to continue meeting when the construction ban was not renewed.

Netanyahu has reportedly put a stop to new construction in Judea and Samaria (Shomron), but has not issued a public ban on construction, and has not stopped construction for Israelis in Jerusalem.

A government source told Maariv that Netanyahu would find it difficult to accept a public construction ban due to the makeup of his coalition.

It is also not clear if PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has accepted Kerry’s proposal. Since the last construction freeze Abbas has announced other demands that he considers preconditions to talks with Israel.