JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas urged Arab states during a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah to unite against Israeli plans to expand West Bank settlements, his spokesman said on Monday.
The Palestinian Authority president “called for a unified Arab stance in face of Israel,” Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP following the meeting late on Sunday.
“This is not just a challenge to the Arabs, but it also destroys the (peace) efforts of (US) President Barack Obama,” he said a day after Israel signalled plans to construct 450 to 500 homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“A firm and unified Arab and international stance in the face of Israel is needed. We will not go back to the negotiating table before a halt to settlement building,” Abu Rudeina added.
Last week Abbas visited Spain and France, where he slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government plans to approve a fast expansion of settlement building in the West Bank.
Abbas is on an Arab mini-tour which has already taken him to Egypt on Saturday, while later on Monday he will be in Jordan.
In Cairo Abbas said he will not meet Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month if the hawkish Israeli premier approves an expansion of West Bank settlements before considering a freeze.