Saturday, January 9, 2010

Palestinians reject U.S. call for resuming peace talks

(Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Saturday rejected a U.S. call for resuming the stalled peace talks with Israel without preconditions, demanding a full settlement freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua in a telephone interview that it is unacceptable, "since the U.S. administration's calls don't include a total freeze of settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, and don't include a timetable for resuming the talks."

Erekat said that Clinton "neglected the Arab position" that Israel must halt the building of Jewish settlements all-over the West Bank as well as in the occupied East Jerusalem." Clinton also failed to "endorse the principle of the two-state solution," Erekat said.

"How should we negotiate on the Palestinian state's boundaries while the Israeli bulldozers and settlements are eating up the land that we want to build our state on?" Erekat said. "The settlement expansions must stop to give a chance for the negotiations to succeed."

Erekat stressed that the negotiations must restart from the point they stopped at during the era of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.