RAMALLAH, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank are the main obstacle to peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, Palestinian foreign affairs minister Riyadh al-Maliki said on Saturday.
"Everyone knows that settlement activities are the basic obstacle and the Israelis are trying to change the facts on the ground," al-Maliki said in a statement sent to the media.
His remarks came in response to his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman who said he saw a good chance to resume the talks with the Palestinians and the settlements did not affect the peace process.
"Lieberman has a twisty vision and analysis about the settlements' issue," al-Maliki added, recalling that the settlement construction went along with more plans to seize Palestinian land and to demolish houses in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israeli hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads an expanded coalition of extremist parties, has been rejecting U.S. demands to freeze the settlement activities in the territories designated to be the ground of the future Palestinian statehood.
The peace talks have been stalled since Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip in January. The installation of Netanyahu's government early in April contributed to the freezing of the peace process.