Stalled PA-Israel Talks Strain Further

Tensions are running high over stalled direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority especially after recent remarks by hawkish Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The controversial Israeli minister told AFP on Tuesday that he does not foresee any agreement with the Palestinians for "at least a decade".

He said there was an "overdoing, overspeaking and over involvement" on the part of the "whole international community," including the United States, in the Middle East negotiations.

"What we need today is a long-term intermediate agreement," he claimed.

Lieberman also repeated Israeli objections to Palestinian attempts to declare independence unilaterally.

"I think they will lose much more than they can gain in establishing a unilateral independent country," he proclaimed.

The recent remarks by the hard-line leader of the Yisrael Beitenu party demonstrate the ill-will of Tel Aviv officials towards any solution to the Middle East conflict.

“Avigdor Lieberman is a figure who has constantly called for the expulsion of the Palestinian people who still reside within occupied Palestine,” said Ralph Schoenman, author of ”Hidden History of Zionism” in a Press TV interview on Wednesday.

Talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel began in Washington on September 2 after nearly two years of deadlock. They quickly collapsed when a 10-month Israeli settlements freeze expired on September 26.

The United States subsequently called for a return to talks. The Palestinian Authority rejected the request, insisting on a halt to settlement construction.

Palestinians say both demolitions and settlement construction undermine their efforts to establish a state on the territory that the Israeli regime captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

Tel Aviv adamantly proceeds with the construction of the settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The United Nation has criticized the regime for defying international calls to halt its settlement construction activity in the occupied West Bank.

Oscar Fernandez Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, criticized Tel Aviv in October for jeopardizing international efforts to resolve the impasse in Israeli talks with the Palestinian Authority.

"We have a brief and crucial window to overcome the current impasse. The UN secretary general continues to believe that if the door to peace closes, it will be very hard to reopen," Taranco told the UN Security Council.

Carroll Bogert, representative of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said recently that "Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads."

"While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp — not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes," Bogert said.

(Press TV)

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