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Palestinians' despair grows as Obama not to ask Israel to halt settlement


10:51, March 18, 2013

RAMALLAH, March 17 (Xinhua) -- One Palestinian official said Sunday that they are more despaired after U.S. President Barack Obama said that he would not present a new Mideast peace initiative or request Israel to halt settlement activities in the Palestinian territories.

Wassel Abu Yousef, an official in Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Xinhua on Sunday that "everyone should notice that the vows and stances of President Obama concerning Israeli settlement, which is the most pressing issue concerning the future of the conflict, had gone in vain."

In an interview aired on the Israeli Chanel II Television, Obama ruled out that he would ask Israel to freeze settlement construction in the Israeli settlement, adding "We had overcome the situation of preconditions." He also ruled out presenting a new initiative to push forward the stalled peace talks.

However, Obama, who will arrive in Israel on Wednesday and will hold separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said that Israel needed to ask herself if its settlements in the West Bank made it difficult or easy for the Palestinian moderates to get back to the negotiations table.

"It is obvious that the U.S. is not serious or interested to pressure on Israel to halt settlement. It also puts other regional issues on the top of its priority, at the expense of the Palestinian cause, something that obliged us not to count too much on this visit," said Abu Yousef.

The PLO official stressed that the Palestinian position concerning the resumption of the peace talks "is clear and firm," adding "We refuse to resume any peace negotiations with Israel before Israel halts settlement, in which the international community admitted that it is illegal."

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