The Palestinian Authority (PA) describes Israel’s unyielding settlement activities as ‘vicious’ and a ‘time-bomb’ that threatens future talks with Tel Aviv.
The acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas said in a Monday message to the United Nations that the settlement expansions constitute “a time bomb that could destroy everything we have accomplished on the road to peace at any moment," AFP reported.
The Authority rejoined the US-sponsored direct talks on September 2 in Washington. The process, however, broke off about three weeks later after Tel Aviv refused to renew a partial ban it had imposed on the construction of illegal Jewish settler units on occupied Palestinian territories.
Monday reports pointed to an approval issued by the Israeli regime for the construction of 130 settlements in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). Tel Aviv occupied the territory, hailed as the promised capital of any future Palestinian state, in 1967 and later annexed it in defiance of the international community’s condemnation of both moves.
Resumption of the talks, Abbas said, "requires bringing a decisive and final end to the vicious Israeli settlement campaign."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also urged Israel to freeze the settlement campaign, which he has described as "a serious blow to the credibility of the political process."
Israel’s UN envoy Meron Reuben, however, reiterated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Tel Aviv would not accept any preconditions for negotiating with the PA.