A top Palestinian official has accused Israel of deliberately ruining the new round of talks between Palestinian Authority and Tel Aviv by resuming its settlement activity.
Senior Palestinian Authority official Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Friday that Israel’s refusal to halt settlement construction in the occupied West Bank is equivalent to a refusal to continuation of the US-sponsored direct talks.
Rabbo made the remarks after acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas told US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell that the Palestinian side would not engage in further negotiations with Israel as long as Tel Aviv is expanding its Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinians lands.
Palestinians believe that expansion of Jewish settlements on their lands will make the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip impossible.
The two sides have reportedly agreed to continue talks indirectly.
Tel Aviv intensified its illegal construction work in the West Bank on Monday, hours after the expiry of a partial freeze on settlement constructions despite worldwide calls for the expansion and extension of the partial freeze.
Palestinian Authority had repeatedly threatened to leave the US-sponsored direct talks with Tel Aviv if Israel resumes settlement construction. Mahmoud Abbas is expected to respond to the decision after a meeting of Arab leaders in Egypt on Wednesday.
The settlement construction on the occupied Palestinian lands is in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 446, 452 and 465.