Palestinians cool to partial settlement freeze
Ramallah: A senior Palestinian official on Sunday rejected the idea of a partial Israeli settlement freeze as a way of restarting peace talks, a sign of tough times ahead for the Obama administration`s new attempt to bring the sides together.
US Secretary of State John Kerry met separately late yesterday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk about ending a deadlock of more than four years over settlements.
Abbas says he won`t return to negotiations without an Israeli construction freeze, arguing that Israel`s building on war-won land pre-empts the outcome of talks on a border between Israel and a future state of Palestine. Abbas last held talks with Netanyahu`s predecessor in late 2008.
Netanyahu has refused to halt construction and instead calls for an immediate return to negotiations. President Barack Obama sided with Israel`s position during a visit to the region last week, saying the Palestinians should return to talks to sort out the settlement issue.
The US has not spoken publicly about possible compromises in recent days, though there has been some speculation it would propose a partial construction stop in the West Bank heartland, east of Israel`s separation barrier.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said today that the Palestinians do not seek a confrontation with the Obama administration, but appeared to suggest that nothing short of a full freeze will bring them back to negotiations.
The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967. Since that war, Israel has built dozens of settlements, considered illegal by much of the world and now home to more than half a million Israelis, in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Much of the construction takes place in so-called "settlement blocs" close to Israel and in east Jerusalem. Israel`s separation barrier cuts off east Jerusalem and some of the settlement blocs from the rest of the West Bank.
Asked if Abbas would accept a partial freeze, east of the barrier, Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio: "Absolutely not. It is rejected."
"First of all, 90 per cent of the building in settlements is going on in the blocs," he said. "If we accepted that, we would be committing two crimes. The first is legalizing what is illegal, which is settlement construction, and the second is accepting the Israeli policy (of) dictation."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Indrani 'slow-poisoned' Sheena, wanted to portray Mikhail as 'mentally unstable'?
- 'Mann ki Baat': Will implement 13 new pointers to Land Bill from today itself, says PM Modi
- People have no faith left in Modi government: Sonia Gandhi at Swabhiman rally
- Will not allow any political party to join agitation: Hardik Patel
- Swabhiman rally: About Bihar's development or Narendra Modi?
- Satire website publishes article on Osama bin Laden being alive and quotes Edward Snowden
- Indrani's former brother-in-law claims Sheena was Siddharth Das' daughter
- Sheena murder: Suitcase seized from Indrani, Peter's residence meant for disposing Mikhail's body?
- Sheena Bora murder case: 'Indrani Mukerjea's father thrashed her with belt'