Caracas: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas dismissed an Israeli plan to halt new construction of West Bank settlements as insufficient on Friday, saying it won't be enough to restart peace talks.
The Palestinian President said during his first visit to Venezuela that "we can't accept the current Israeli government's concept for the negotiations”.
Abbas said Wednesday's announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a 10-month halt to new construction in West Bank Jewish settlements "didn't bring anything new" because construction would continue in east Jerusalem and in the West Bank regardless of a freeze on new settlement building.
"The Israeli Prime Minister had to choose between peace and occupation," Abbas said in a speech to Venezuelan lawmakers.
"Lamentably, he chose occupation."
Netanyahu's announcement came after US pressure in an attempt to revive long-frozen peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. But Palestinians have demanded Israel completely halt Jewish settlement building.
Netanyahu's plan does not include a building freeze in Jewish neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem, a swath of the city the Palestinians want as the capital of a future state, and it would not apply to some 3,000 homes already under construction in the West Bank.
First Published: Saturday, November 28, 2009, 09:25