Palestinians: Settlements remain biggest obstacle for peace talks

23:05, August 30, 2010      

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Jewish settlement in occupied Palestinian territories is the biggest obstacle that will emerge in peace talks with Israel, Palestinian officials said Monday.

"Stopping the settlement is the real test to the success of the negotiations," said Hannan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The negotiations will resume in Washington in September 2, the same month in which a 10-month Israeli freeze of constructions in the West Bank ends. The Palestinians expect that Israel is unlikely going to extend the moratorium.

"Peace and settlements are separate tracks that can never meet, " Ashrawi told Voice of Palestine Radio. She noted that Israel stepped up settlement in East Jerusalem which the Palestinians see as a future capital. Israel excluded East Jerusalem from the moratorium.

On Sunday, President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of threatening the negotiations by showing no readiness to freeze all forms of Jewish settlement.

Meanwhile, Mustafa Al-Barghouti, leader of the leftist National Initiative Party, warned that Israel was going to increase building or expanding settlements "and this means destroying the direct peace talks."

"The Israeli government wants to use the negotiations to cover its settlement activities," Al-Barghouti told reporters.

Source: Xinhua


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