Israeli PM Rebuffs Settlement Freeze

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again rejected calls to extend a partial freeze on settlement activities in the occupied territories.

"The prime minister has not changed his position on this issue, there is no question of extending the moratorium," an unnamed Israeli official told AFP on Friday.

Last week, US President Barack Obama said it would make sense for Tel Aviv to extend the 10-month moratorium during its direct talks with the Palestinian Authority.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Tel Aviv on Thursday to extend the deadline, which expires at the end of this month.

"Where we sit now it would be useful for some extension, it would be extremely useful," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, the European Union said that the settlements are "illegal under international law" and called for an "extension of the moratorium decided by Israel."

Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to leave the negotiations if Israel resumes its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

According to Palestinians, Israel’s insistence of the continuation of settlement projects would be a major obstacle to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

(Press TV)

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