JERUSALEM — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is closer to a deal that would rescue the faltering Mideast peace talks, pushing a formula that would include the release of convicted U.S. spy Jonathan Pollard and freedom for hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel, an official close to the negotiations said Tuesday.
The deal would not include a freeze on construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank as the Palestinians have demanded but would envisage Israel committing to show "great restraint" and not issue new housing tenders.
The remarks were the first sign of breakthrough after weeks of arduous U.S. efforts meant to keep the negotiations afloat past a late-April deadline. The talks were on the verge of collapse after a planned Palestinian prisoner release did not take place as scheduled last week.
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