RAMALLAH, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Possible resumption of
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks can make progress only if the United States
presses Israel to it, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday.
"If the U.S. administration fails to pressure Israel
to stop settlement, there will be no convenient reason to make progress in
talking about fateful issues like Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water and
prisoners," Erekat told Xinhua.
Under the Road Map peace plan, Israel and the
Palestinians have to take a series of steps alongside negotiations until
reaching a solution based on establishing a Palestinian statehood alongside the
However, Israel continues Jewish settlement in the
West Bank, contradicting the first phase of the U.S.-backed plan. The
Palestinians protest that the settlements are being built on their land which
would be part of their future statehood.
"The Palestinians are adhering to their obligations
under the Road Map and the settlement issue is an Israeli obligation that must
be carried out," Erekat added.
He also called on Israel to open the Palestinian
National Authority's (PNA) institutions in East Jerusalem and remove checkpoints
in the West Bank, all Israeli obligations under the Road Map.
Erekat's comments came amid a latest trip by U.S.
envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to the region, which included stops at
Syria, Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian territories.
Mitchell is now in Israel to meet with Israeli
hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after meeting with Erekat,
Palestinian Premier Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on
When Netanyahu formed his government five months ago,
the PNA declared it can not continue the peace talks unless Netanyahu stops the
settlements and endorse the two-state solution.