Palestinian says 2nd round of talks with Israel to start Monday

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will start the second round of peace talks on Monday amid "black shadows that Israel spreads on the atmosphere," an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday.

Palestinian says 2nd round of talks with Israel to start Monday
Nabil Amr, Abbas' media advisor, told a news conference that the continuation of the Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank would "harm the peace process," which was relaunched as a result of the U.S.-hosted peace conference held last month in Annapolis.

"Israel can not combine between peace and settlement," Amr said, urging the U.S. and other partners "to build pressure on Israel to stop the settlement policy."

He asserted that appeals to stop the settlement activities will remain on the top of the Palestinian agenda in every meeting with Israeli negotiators "to stop this destructive policy."

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams held the first session of peace talks on Dec. 12 in Jerusalem.

Amr's announcement came right after an earlier report said Israel is planning to allocate funds to build over 1,000 apartments in East Jerusalem and a settlement in the West Bank, as part of the Housing Ministry's proposed budget for 2008.

According to Israel's Army Radio, 500 apartments are planned to be built in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa and another 240 in Ma'aleh Adumim.

Earlier this month, the Israeli government decided to invite bids to construct 307 housing units in the settlement of Har Homa, a move decried by the Palestinian side as detrimental to the Middle East peace process.

The international community has criticized Israel's previously publicized plans for 340 new homes in Har Homa, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling the move "unhelpful."

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Aralık 2007, 12:29
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