Time is running out for the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Monday.
"We think that time, in some ways, is running out for the two-state solution, unless we can push forward now, because otherwise the facts on the ground will make it more and more difficult, which is why the settlement issue remains so important," Cameron said after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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Earlier, Britain's deputy prime minister accused Israel Monday of carrying out "deliberate vandalism" by continuing to build settlements on land the Palestinians hope will form part of a future state.
In an escalation of Britain's previous condemnations of Israeli construction, Nick Clegg warned that continued settlement building was jeopardizing prospects for a peace deal.
"Once you've placed physical facts on the ground that makes it impossible to deliver something that everyone has for years agreed is the ultimate destination... it is an act of deliberate vandalism to the basic premise on which negotiations have taken place for years and years and years," Clegg said, referring to settlement construction.
Clegg was speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was also holding talks in London with Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague – both of whom have previously expressed concern about settlements.
"The continued existence of illegal settlements risks making facts on the ground such that a two-state solution becomes unviable," Clegg said.
Clegg and Abbas (Photo: AFP)
He said that continued construction would "do nothing to safeguard the security of Israel itself, or of Israeli citizens."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Clegg's choice of language would do little to help attempts to restart peace talks.
"It would be much better to contribute to peace by encouraging the fragile revival of Israeli-Palestinian talks rather than engaging in gratuitous bashing," Palmor said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has previously insisted the country is exercising "great restraint" in construction.
AP and Reuters contributed to this report
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