RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he has asked the U.S. to settle a dispute with Israel over settlement expansion that is threatening to derail Mideast peace talks.

Israel’s 10-month partial freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements ends Sept. 26, and Israeli officials have indicated they will not extend the freeze as is. Abbas has said he’ll quit peace talks with Israel unless the restrictions remain in place.

Abbas said late Monday that he has asked the U.S. “to intervene in the settlement issue.”

The Obama administration has promised an active role in the talks, Abbas said on his way back from Washington, where direct negotiations were launched last week after a hiatus of nearly two years.

Settlements take up land the Palestinians want for a state, and Abbas views Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision on the freeze as a test of his intentions.

President Obama wants Abbas and Netanyahu to agree on the main principles of a peace deal within a year, but gaps remain wide. In Washington, Netanyahu — who long opposed Palestinian statehood before accepting the idea last year — struck a conciliatory tone.

But in a message to the Israeli people Tuesday before the Jewish New Year, Netanyahu said the negotiations’ success, while desired, “was not assured.”

Palestinians still fear that the Israeli leader plans to use the talks to buy time and establish more facts on the ground.

In Madrid on Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said it was ironic that Israel halted settlement construction when there were no talks but might resume the building during negotiations.

“The international community needs to state firmly that Israel must put an end to settlements and to end the occupation,” he said.

Abbas and Netanyahu will meet twice next week, first in Egypt and then in Jerusalem. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will attend both meetings.