PA to freeze peace talks over settlement plans

PA to freeze peace talks over settlement plans
Mon Aug 12, 2013 19:48:20

Acting Palestinian Authority (PA) plans to boycott direct talks with the Israeli regime after Tel Aviv have given the go to construct more settlements ahead of talks with Palestinian negotiators.

"There are discussions with [acting Palestinian] President Mahmoud Abbas over not joining the second round of negotiations, slated for Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ariha," top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said on Monday.

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said on Saturday that 1,187 apartments had been given final approval to be built on occupied lands in East al-Quds and the West Bank.

The settlement construction will take place on lands Israel has occupied in 1967 in East al-Quds and the West Bank, which are parts of the territory the Palestinians seek as a future state.

The announcement came just days before Palestinian and Israeli officials are to resume the US-mediated talks after a three-year freeze.

"The settlement plans contradict the principle of confidence and goodwill that the resumption of negotiations should have provided," Erekat said.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because they are built on territories which were captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, and are hence seen as being subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

Israeli’s decision to build more settlements ahead of peace talks drew reactions by international community.

On Monday, Moscow castigated a "counterproductive" decision by Israel to invite bids to build nearly 1,200 homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed east al-Quds on the eve of planned peace talks.


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