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Fayyad: Israeli settlements undermining two-state peace model

Oct. 13, 2008 11:29 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 13, 2008 11:29 A.M.)
Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli settlements and the separation wall in the West Bank are fast making the two-state vision of peace an impossibility, said Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Washington on Sunday.

Fayyad was speaking to the annual gala of the American Task Force on Palestine, a group deeply dedicated to the two-state model of peacemaking.

"The two state solution is staggering under the pressure of 170 settlements housing about a half million settlers. Each block added to a settler's house, each road pave in those settlements and each meter added to that separation wall which runs like a roller-coaster in the West Bank means we are running out of time to reach a two state solution," Fayyad said.

With this pronouncement, Fayyad added his voice to a chorus of so-called Palestinian moderates who have threatened to abandon the Palestinian-Israeli negotiation process. Over the decades, Israeli settlement in the West Bank has fragmented the heartland of what was to be a future Palestinian state.

"Much has been said, and we still have much to say about hardships which impeded the peace process. We all wish we were closer to peace. While the Annapolis conference brought hope that a peace agreement could be reached before this year comes to an end, we as Palestinians expected economic and security improvements which support the political track. However, unfortunately very little of these expectations came true as settlement activity has been increasing in the West Bank since the Annapolis conference, contrary to what was agreed on," Fayyad said.

He added, "Everybody should realize that the Palestinian people are interested not only in establishing any state and at any price. Israel is not the only country which cares about its population and takes their feelings into account."

Regarding the internal Palestinian political crisis, Fayyad reiterated the necessity of restoring unity between the West bank and the Gaza Strip through the formation of a national coalition government to be composed of independent figures. This government, he said, would govern with Arab support and prepare for presidential and legislative elections.

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