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President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
 
 

Abbas warns settlement construction will lead to explosion

Ahead of US's Kerry visit, Palestinian president criticizes 'equation of prisoner release in return for construction beyond Green Line,' threatens to approach international bodies

Elior Levy
Published: 11.04.13, 20:01 / Israel News

Less than 24 hours before US State Secretary John Kerry's arrival in the region, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned future of the peace talks with Israel is in jeopardy in light of Israeli intentions to back new construction in the settlements.

 

"The equation of prisoner release for construction will explode the situation," he said at the Fatah advisory committee meeting on Monday in Ramallah, after Israel announced it will promote the construction of over 1,700 homes beyond the 1967 borders.

 

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"After all the rounds of negotiations nothing is actually happening, and tensions may rise soon, since Israel says 'we released prisoners and we can't bear it, so we boost settlement construction'," Abbas said.

 

The Palestinian president noted that he rejected the American request not to turn to international organizations during the nine month-long talks, and claimed no one can force the Palestinians on the matter.

 

He warned that if Israel will deport prisoners on the next releases, which will include Arab-Israelis and east Jerusalem residents, the Palestinians will immediately turn to international groups.

 

Warnings about the future of the negotiations were also voiced by Minister Gideon Sa'ar on Monday's Likud -Beiteinu faction meeting.

 

Sa'ar accused the Palestinian Authority of not running the talks with Israel "in good faith." He mentioned South Africa's foreign minister's statement, which said the Authority asked its diplomats to avoid formal meetings with Israeli representatives.

 

According to him, the Palestinians are running the negotiations while at the same time pursuing a campaign aimed to promote a boycott of Israel.

 

However, Kerry, to arrive tomorrow, said in a press conference in Saudi Arabia, another stop on his Middle East trotting, that the US will continue on the same direction of the negotiations.

 

 

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