Tuesday, Oct. 22
Latest News
  1. Palestinian goverment: 26 million in development of ministries
  2. Rudeineh: Washington us unable to achieve anything by itself
  3. US: “No plan for unilateral annexation by Israel of the West Bank"
  4. Cluster of incendiary balloons land in southern Israel
  5. Palestinian FM condemns Germany's vote to define BDS as 'anti-Semitic'
  6. Israeli forces forcibly evict Muslim worshipers from Al-Aqsa
  7. Israeli forces detain 14-year-old Palestinian near Ramallah
  8. Erekat: Deviation from peace terms of reference doomed to fail
  9. Iceland's Hatari shocks Eurovision with Palestinian flags
  10. UNRWA: 4 Palestinian children killed in attack on Syria refugee camp

PA: US says Israel rejected new settlement freeze

Dec. 2, 2010 12:10 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 4, 2010 9:15 A.M.)
By Nasser Abu Bakr

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- The United States admitted it has failed to win a new Israeli settlement freeze, a Palestinian official said on Thursday, in a potential knockout blow to stalled peace talks.

"The US administration has informed us that the Israeli government did not agree to a new settlement freeze," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The US administration will continue its efforts," the official added.

There was no comment from the US consulate, but Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held talks with US Consul-general Daniel Rubinstein in Ramallah early on Thursday afternoon.

Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the meeting was inconclusive.

"We didn't get any final US answer on the results of their discussions with the Israeli side," he said.

"The US side told us that intensive consultations and communications with all the parties will continue in the days ahead," he added. "It's clear that the Israeli side is procrastinating and wasting time."

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said only that the premier told the Knesset on Wednesday that Israel was "working closely with the United States... to find an effective route to resuming talks."

The United States has for weeks been trying to convince Netanyahu to impose a new moratorium on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

A previous 10-month freeze expired on September 26, shortly after the launch of new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the first direct negotiations between the two sides in nearly two years.

The talks ground to a halt after the ban expired and settlement building resumed.

Abbas later said he would not return to the negotiations without a new ban on Jewish construction on land the Palestinians want for their future state.

In an attempt to revive the talks, the United States offered Israel a package of incentives including 20 F-35 fighter planes, worth three billion dollars, in exchange for a new three-month ban.

Washington also committed to not seeking an additional freeze, and pledged to provide Israel with diplomatic support, including vetoing anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations.

The package would also have allowed Israel to continue building in east Jerusalem, over the objections of the Palestinians who want the annexed east part of the city for the capital of their future state.

Abbas has said any new moratorium must apply to building in east Jerusalem, a demand that Israel has rejected.

The idea of even a partial new freeze on West Bank settlement construction is deeply unpopular among many in the Israeli parliament, including in Netanyahu's own cabinet.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli public radio he did not believe a new moratorium would be implemented.

"I think, like many others, that there will not be another freeze. We must erase the word freeze from our vocabulary," he said.

"We saw what the previous 10-month freeze got us -- it didn't achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations," he said.

In early October, Abbas went to the Arab League to seek support for halting peace talks after Israel refused to extend the settlement freeze.

The organisation said they would give the United States a month to try to salvage the talks, but later extended the grace period until the end of November.

Arab foreign ministers said they would not set a date to meet on the issue again until the Palestinians received word from Washington about the outcome of its attempts to secure a new freeze.
Most Read
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015