RAMALLAH, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Jewish settlement in occupied Palestinian territories is the biggest obstacle that will emerge in peace talks with Israel, Palestinian officials said Monday.
"Stopping the settlement is the real test to the success of the negotiations," said Hannan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The negotiations will resume in Washington in September 2, the same month in which a 10-month Israeli freeze of constructions in the West Bank ends. The Palestinians expect that Israel is unlikely going to extend the moratorium.
"Peace and settlements are separate tracks that can never meet, " Ashrawi told Voice of Palestine Radio. She noted that Israel stepped up settlement in East Jerusalem which the Palestinians see as a future capital. Israel excluded East Jerusalem from the moratorium.
On Sunday, President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of threatening the negotiations by showing no readiness to freeze all forms of Jewish settlement.
Meanwhile, Mustafa Al-Barghouti, leader of the leftist National Initiative Party, warned that Israel was going to increase building or expanding settlements "and this means destroying the direct peace talks."
"The Israeli government wants to use the negotiations to cover its settlement activities," Al-Barghouti told reporters.
Abbas: Israel to blame if talks fail
RAMALLAH, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday said Israel would foil peace talks if it continued Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
"Israel's government would alone bear the responsibility of threatening the negotiations with failure and collapse if all forms of settlement expansions continued," Abbas said in a televised speech. Full story
Netanyahu: Mideast peace deal has three-level bases
JERUSALEM, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that any peace deal with the Palestinians should have three-level bases including the recognition of Israel as a "Jewish people's state" and the establishment of a "demilitarized Palestinian state."
The peace will be based on three main levels, including "real security arrangements in the State of Israel", "recognizing Israel as the Jewish people's state" and "the establishment of the Palestinian state requires that it be demilitarized," local news service Ynet quoted the premier as saying at the weekly cabinet meeting. Full story
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