No peace talks if Israel continues building: Arabs

Last Updated: Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 18:30

United Nations: The newly started
Israeli-Palestinian talks will fail unless Israel extends a
partial ban on settlement building in the West Bank, territory
the Palestinians want for a future state, Arab League chief
Amr Moussa has warned.

Moussa also reacted angrily to a vote earlier in the day
in the UN nuclear agency in Vienna that defeated an Arab call
for Israel to join the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations annual
summit in New York, Moussa said negotiations could not proceed
if building of settlements continued on the occupied West Bank
because it would threaten "the territorial integrity of the
new state of Palestine."

"Negotiations cannot go with settlements," he said
yesterday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as said a
partial moratorium on settlement construction will not be
extended when it expires tomorrow.

"If they continue eroding the territorial integrity of
the Palestinian lands, if they continue changing the
demographic composition of the territories, why are the
negotiations conducted, why are we wasting time?" Moussa
asked.

Earlier in the week, Moussa met with senior diplomats
from the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers -- the US, the
European Union, the United Nations and Russia -- to discuss a
way forward in the talks. The Quartet also has called on
Israel to extend its settlement freeze.

Israel has refused to do so, arguing that settlement
building was not be an impediment to the talks.

Moussa indirectly criticised the United States and other
Western nations, claiming they were continuing to support
Israel`s intransigence.

"Defending Israel on everything, even (against) calling
on Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty, is something
very, very strange and does not augur well to building
confidence," he said.

He said the Arab effort to get the 151-nation UN nuclear
agency to urge Israel to join the international nuclear treaty
to which all other states in the Middle East belong, failed
after a "worldwide campaign" by Israel`s western allies to
prevent this.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 18:30

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