Peace talks likely to collapse as Netanyahu refuses to extend freeze on settlement

September 19, 2010
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Peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis are likely to collapse after Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday refused to yield to growing international calls on Israel to extend a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.

Israel would not risk exposing its citizens to the type of attacks launched from the Gaza Strip since Israel’s withdrawal in 2006, Netanyahu told cabinet colleagues, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The 10-month freeze, which covers the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, is due to expire at the end of September and has proved the major sticking point in new peace talks that began in Washington at the start of the month.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly threatened to abandon negotiations if building resumes.

On Wednesday Abbas and Netanyahu, who is under heavy pressure from right-wing coalition partners to abandon the freeze, met in Jerusalem to try and break the deadlock.

However, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman over the weekend completely ruled out a new ban on construction.

“The settlement freeze is just a Palestinian excuse to undermine peace talks, and anyone who seeks excuses will find another excuse even if the freeze is extended,” Lieberman said, quoted by Haaretz.

President Shimon Peres is expected to meet Abbas in New York this week in an effort to avert the crisis and keep the Palestinians at the negotiating table.

 

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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