Palestinians Preconditioning Peace Talks on Settlements Freeze
And that seems entirely reasonable to me:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said that the United States is working with Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as Arab states, namely Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to resume the peace negotiations “as soon as possible and without preconditions.” Clinton made the remarks after meeting Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh, adding that Washington is to renew its commitment and increase efforts in persuading the parties to return to the talks.
The two officials called on the Palestinians and Israel to tackle the thorny issues of borders and the status of Jerusalem first, saying resolving the two issues would automatically resolve the dispute over Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a major obstacle in the peace process.
But Erekat said that Clinton “neglected the Arab position” that Israel must halt the building of Jewish settlements all-over the West Bank as well as in the occupied East Jerusalem.” Clinton also failed to “endorse the principle of the two-state solution,” Erekat said.
“How should we negotiate on the Palestinian state’s boundaries while the Israeli bulldozers and settlements are eating up the land that we want to build our state on?” Erekat said. “The settlement expansions must stop to give a chance for the negotiations to succeed.”
The Palestinians insist the borders of their future statehood encompass all of the land Israel occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem as their capital, while Israel deems Jerusalem as its indivisible capital.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has also called on the international community to urge Israel to stop settlement in the Palestinian territories and end the blockade that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip for three years “before resuming any peace negotiations.”
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