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Israeli settlement freeze not enough: Abbas

Last Updated: Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 09:25

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

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