Palestinian negotiator urges U.S. to push Israel in peace talks 2009-07-28 22:42:35   Print

    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 Jewish one.

    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 Monday.

    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.

Editor: Yan
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