PA mulls boycotting Israel talks over settlement approval

The Palestinian Authority mulls boycotting the upcoming round of direct talks with Israel in protest against Tel Aviv’s approval of the construction of more settler units on Palestinian lands just days ahead of new talks.

“There are discussions with [acting Palestinian] President Mahmoud Abbas over not joining the second round of negotiations, slated for Wednesday in the West Bank city of Jericho,” top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said on Monday.

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said on Saturday that 1,187 apartments had been given final approval to be built on occupied lands in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank.

The settlement construction will take place on lands Israel has occupied in 1967 in East al-Quds and the West Bank, which are parts of the territory the Palestinians seek as a future state.

The announcement came just days before Palestinian and Israeli officials are to resume the US-mediated talks after a three-year freeze.

“The settlement plans contradict the principle of confidence and goodwill that the resumption of negotiations should have provided,” Erekat said.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because they are built on territories which were captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, and are hence seen as being subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

By Press TV


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