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Israel 'saddened' as Brazil recognizes Palestinian state

Dec. 4, 2010 1:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 6, 2010 9:56 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel on Saturday said it was disappointed by Brazil's decision to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, saying it flew in the face of efforts to negotiate a peace deal.

The decision was announced by outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a public letter addressed to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, which was made public by Brazil's foreign ministry Friday.

"The government of Israel expresses sadness and disappointment over the decision by the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a month before he steps down," a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said.

"Recognition of a Palestinian state is a breach of the interim agreement which was signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority 1995 which said that the issue of the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be discussed and resolved through negotiations," it said.

Such a move also contravened the 2003 Middle East roadmap for peace, which said a Palestinian state could only be established through negotiations and not through unilateral actions, the statement said, warning that unilateral steps would harm attempts to build trust.

"Every attempt to bypass this process and to decide in advance in a unilateral manner about important issues which are disputed, only harms trust between the sides, and hurts their commitment to the agreed framework of negotiating towards peace."

Lula's letter was sent in response to a personal request made by Abbas on 24 November, the Brazilian document said.

The move by Brazil comes as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians teetered on the brink of collapse following the end of a temporary ban on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Abbas says he will not return to negotiations while Israel continues to build on land the Palestinians want for a future state. But Israel has so far refused to impose any new curb on settlement building.
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