Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit says Arab nations might ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in response to Israel’s failure to respect the new round of talks.
Aboul Gheit said on Friday that if Tel Aviv continues the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Arab League will make a request to the United Nations for the recognition as early as next month.
"If Israel does not respect the settlements freeze, the Arab League will study some other options aside from the peace process such as going to the United Nations and asking for the recognition of the Palestinian state," he said at a meeting in Brussels.
Aboul Gheit’s remarks came after Israel unveiled plans for 238 new homes for Jewish settlers in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) despite international calls for a full settlement freeze in occupied Palestinian lands.
The new round of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) started in Washington in September after a 20-month hiatus. But the talks reached a deadlock after Israel refused to meet the PA’s demand for extending the partial settlement freeze in the West Bank and resumed its illegal construction work hours after the expiry of the 10-month moratorium.
The PA had repeatedly threatened to leave the US-sponsored direct talks with Tel Aviv if Israel resumes settlement construction.
Palestinians believe that the expansion of Jewish settlements on their occupied lands will make the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip impossible.
The Arab League has backed acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to suspend talks and has given the US one month to end the impasse.