Negotiator says Israel wants to "kill off" Palestinian state

Finally, somebody tells the truth.

National PostIsrael’s plan to build new homes on occupied land JEWISH LAND  should be countered by international recognition of a Palestinian state, the chief Palestinian negotiator said on Tuesday.

Raising the stakes in deadlocked U.S.-sponsored peace talks, Saeb Erekat said it was clear from the latest announcement of building plans that Israel wants settlements homes, not peace.

“Israeli unilateralism is a call for immediate international recognition of the Palestinian state,” he said in a statement. The United States swiftly repeated its opposition to any unilateral moves to recognise Palestinian statehood. “Both sides have to avoid unilateral actions that really poison the atmosphere and prevent progress towards negotiations,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

Mr. Abbas has floated the idea of “going to the United Nations” to declare statehood as one option if peace negotiations collapse, but only after first seeking support from Washington.

Israel on Monday announced plans to build 1,300 new homes on occupied West Bank JEWISH land it has annexed to Jerusalem, and on Tuesday news reports said a further 800 units were planned in the big settlement of Ariel in the northern West Bank.

The building plans were made public as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in the United States to discuss ways to revive peacemaking that stalled over the settlements homes.

“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” U.S. President Barack Obama said during a visit to Indonesia. (Of course not, the only thing Obama finds helpful is when Israel gives up more of its land)

“And I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough that could finally create a framework for a secure Israel living side by side in peace with a sovereign Palestine.”

Mr. Netanyahu countered censure of the latest Israeli project by noting that Jewish homes had gone up in Arab East Jerusalem during previous rounds of peace talks, without blocking them.

“Jerusalem is not a settlement. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

“Israel sees no connection between the peace process and planning and building policy in Jerusalem … The disputes with the United States on the matter of Jerusalem are known … We hope to overcome them and keep diplomatic talks moving ahead.”

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank, in 1967 and regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the two neighbourhoods where new housing has been approved. World powers do not accept Israel’s claim on East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want for the capital of their future state.

State Department (of Islam) spokesman Crowley said the statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office was unhelpful, and rejected its suggestion there was no link between settlement activity and the peace process.

“There clearly is a link in the sense that it is incumbent on both parties, as we’ve insisted all along, that they are responsible for creating conditions for a successful negotiation,” Mr. Crowley said. “To suggest that this kind of announcement would not have an impact on the Palestinian side I think is incorrect.” (So what the hell are the Palestinians giving up? Nothing)

U.S. misgivings were echoed by Russia, Britain and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, who said Israel’s plan “contradicts the efforts by the international community to resume direct negotiations and the decision should be reversed.” (Who cares?)

Ms. Ashton added: “Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.” (They are NOT settlements, they are Jewish homes on Jewish land)

Noting that the controversial housing announcement was made while Mr. Netanyahu was in the U.S., Mr. Crowley said: “It could very well be that somebody in Israel has made this known in order to embarrass the prime minister and to undermine the process.” (NO! This is the way it should be from now on)

Washington was outraged in March when settlement housing plans were announced with what looked like defiant timing as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Jerusalem.

Mr. Obama, “Respect the Bible as you would the Quran.”

I don’t know who the Israeli guy is who is speaking here, his English is a little hard to understand but his words are powerful.


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