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No Negotiations Until Israel Stops Settlement Activity- PLO Official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat-Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO’s negotiations department, has stated that the gap between the Palestinian and Israeli stands on the issue of resuming the negotiations is still wide and the reasons, he added in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, is that “Israel continues to refuse to stop the settlement building in all the Palestinian territories, including occupied East Jerusalem. I would like to make it clear that stopping the settlement activity is an obligation under the roadmap and not a Palestinian condition.”

He added: “I personally handed the US administration, represented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Adviser General Jim Jones, and US Middle East Peace Envoy George Mitchell and his team, the official Palestinian stand, namely, that President Mahmud Abbas(Abu-Mazin), the PLO Executive Committee’s chairman, and members of the Committee believe that the only door for resuming the final status negotiations is the total stoppage of settlement activity, including natural growth, in the West Bank and Jerusalem with a term of reference which defines the aim of the peace process as the ending of the occupation of the territories which began in 1967.” He went on to say: “Any attempt to circumvent the Israeli obligation is doomed to fail. In other words, we will not accept compromises in the matter of the settlements because there will not be a credible real peace process if it does not pass through the door of stopping the settlement activity, including natural growth (about which the Israeli side is talking). This is our official stand.”

Erekat added that “the Palestinian side could not accept the return of negotiations, if they were resumed, back to square one but from the point they had reached.” Commenting on the Israeli side’s claims of the imminent resumption of negotiations, Erekat, who returned from Washington the day before yesterday, said “what was published about this in Israel is absolutely not correct. The gap is very wide and we are not close to resuming the negotiations.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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