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'Shut all doors.' Erekat
Photo: AP
Erekat: Israeli construction plans sabotaging peace efforts
Chief Palestinian negotiator says approval of construction beyond Green Line shows Bibi 'determined to destroy negotiations'

The Palestinians on Monday accused Israel's prime minister of working to sabotage peace talks by approving the building of housing units beyond the Green Line.

 

"We thought that (Benjamin) Netanyahu was going to the United States to stop settlement activity and restart negotiations but it is clear to us that he is determined to destroy the talks," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP.

 

The Israeli prime minister is currently on a five-day trip to the United States where he is holding a series of top-level talks with US officials aimed at reviving the moribund peace process.

 

"He has shut all the doors to negotiations and we hold him responsible for destroying them," Erekat said.

 

Direct peace talks which began in early September quickly ran aground when an Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlement construction expired six weeks ago, prompting the Palestinians to freeze ties until Israel reimposes the ban.

 

Israel has so far refused to do so, despite heavy international pressure led by Washington.

 

The 10-month moratorium did not include building projects in east Jerusalem, but Israel had quietly held off from approving projects in the city's mainly Arab sector to avoid political fallout, commentators said.

 

 

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