(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday stepped up its criticism of Israel and
reiterated its opposition to returning to the negotiating table as long as
construction in the settlements continues.
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Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior
PLO official closely associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel
of “spreading lies” aimed at depicting the Palestinians as being uninterested in
Abed Rabbo said that Israel was responsible for media
reports according to which the PA had set new conditions for resuming
US-sponsored direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
seeking to distort the Palestinian position,” Abed Rabbo told reporters in
Ramallah. “This is taking place while Israel is continuing to steal our land,
expand settlements, demolish houses, torch agricultural fields and Judaize
Jerusalem,” he said.
“Halting the construction in the settlements should
be the main foundation for a new peace process, and the international community
should recognize the 1967 borders as the separating barrier between Israel and
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for the PA presidency, said
the continued construction in the settlements was a “flagrant challenge” to the
Palestinians, Arabs, US administration and international efforts to revive the
Abu Rudaineh said that the PA would present the Arab
League foreign ministers, who are scheduled to meet next month, with details
about the ongoing activities in the settlements.
The ministers, who met
in Libya two week ago, gave the US 30 days to convince Israel to extend the
freeze of construction in the settlements.
Abu Rudaineh said that the PA
would also present the ministers with a number of options if the peace process
The PA has announced that the options it was studying included asking the US and the UN Security Council
to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 boundaries.
officials, including former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, have said that the
Palestinians should not rule out the option of an “armed struggle” against
Israel if the talks fail.
PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said that the US
administration had the ability to pressure Israel to stop settlement
construction and lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip. He said Abbas was planning
to visit Saudi Arabia and a number of other Arab countries in the coming days
for consultations on the future of the peace talks.
Chief PLO negotiator
Saeb Erekat urged the international community to hold Israel responsible for the
suspension of the peace talks.
“There are no compromises regarding the
settlements,” he said.
“Our position is that Israel should stop all
settlement construction in order for the direct talks to resume.”
accused the Israeli government of working toward deceiving the international
community by creating the false impression that it was considering extending the
moratorium on work in the settlements.