Abbas asks AL to respond to new settlement project

11:10, March 10, 2010      

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday urged the Arab League (AL) to respond to Israel's decision to construct more houses in an East Jerusalem settlement.

Abbas made his request during an urgent phone call with the AL Secretary General Amr Moussa following Israel's approval to construct 1,600 new houses in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, said the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)'s Wafa news agency.

The Israeli decision was made a few days after the AL approved a U.S. proposal for proximity and indirect talks between the PNA and Israel.

The Arab League (AL) on March 3 gave a green light to a U.S. proposal to resume negotiations between Israel and the PNA.

"The Arab foreign ministers have decided to endorse the proximity talks between Palestinians and Israelis in a period of four months," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in the Arab League (AL) headquarters.

Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said " Supporting indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in a period of four months was approved although we are not convinced over the Israeli willingness to achieve peace."

Abbas asked Moussa to start his contacts with members of the AL follow-up committee "to make a decision fitting the danger of the Israeli act which defies the international will," the Wafa report said.

The Palestinian leadership on Sunday reluctantly gave Abbas the green light to follow a U.S. proposal and enter indirect talks with Israel, yet they meanwhile reiterated that Israel must totally freeze settlement expansion both in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem before any possible resumption of direct talks.

On Monday, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell met with Abbas to discuss mechanisms of restarting the negotiations.

Source: Xinhua
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