Israel settlement expansion threaten to hinder talks: PLO

A senior Palestinians legislator has warned that the Israeli regime’s expansion of its illegal settlements in the occupied territories threatens to torpedo the US-mediated talks between the two sides.

“We are not prepared to make the same mistakes and to have talks for their own sake as Israel continues… unilateral measures,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member, on Wednesday.

She was reacting to Israel’s plans to construct over 2,000 settler units in the occupied territories.

“These are not just dots on a map,” said Ashrawi, adding, “These are willful and destructive measures to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators held the second round of talks in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Tuesday. The first round of direct talks between the two sides was held in Washington last month after a three-year gap.

The last talks, in September 2010, halted over the Tel Aviv regime’s expansion of settlements.

“There has been no breakthrough and no agreement. Discussions have not been on specifics,” Ashrawi said about the start of the negotiations.

She also threatened to sue Israel through international organization if it goes ahead with its plans to expand settler houses.

“If Israel carries out these plans… we will be forced to (have) recourse to international judicial processes through international institutions,” she said.

Last week, Tel Aviv announced that another 900 new illegal settlements would be constructed in Gilo in East al-Quds in addition to 1,200 settler homes approved by the regime a few days earlier.

Ashrawi also called on Washington to take a firm stance against the Israeli policy of building further units.

“The EU guidelines are just the beginning of holding Israel accountable (for settlement building). We call on all other countries to persist in holding Israel and the settlers accountable,” she added.

Last month, the EU published new guidelines banning its 28 members from funding projects in Israeli settlements in al-Quds, the West Bank or Golan Heights, which the Tel Aviv regime occupied during the 1967 war.

By Press TV


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