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PLO 'not informed' of US proposal on settlement freeze
Published Tuesday 25/10/2011 (updated) 26/10/2011 12:51
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The settlement of Gilo on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (MaanImages/file)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- PLO official Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that the US had not officially informed the Palestinian leadership of any proposal to partially freeze settlement building.

The Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported Tuesday that the US had made an offer to the Israeli government and the PA suggesting Israel halt the construction of new neighborhoods but could continue building in existing settlements on occupied Palestinian land, apparently to cope with natural growth.

The US offer included harsh consequences for Israel if the country did decide to build new settlements, Maariv said, including Security Council condemnation.

Maariv said the proposal was an effort to restart direct talks, which have been on hold since the last settlement freeze expired in September 2010.

Erekat told Ma'an that the PLO had not been informed of the reported offer.

"We have become used to Israel's public relations approach. There is nothing called partial settlement construction, nor is there legitimate or illegitimate settlement because all settlement constructions violate international law," he said.

Settlement construction must be completely stopped in all Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, Erekat said, adding that a freeze must be applied to "so-called natural growth" as well.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be willing to partially freeze settlement building if it would bring the PLO back to direct talks.

"We want to hear officially from the Israeli government that they accept to stop settlement on all Palestinian lands, including in Jerusalem and natural growth, and to recognize the 1967 borders," Erekat told AFP in response to the report.

"The Israeli government knows very well how to inform us officially. Until now, no-one has told us anything," he said.

The last round of direct peace negotiations broke down within weeks when Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on settlement construction on occupied land.

The PLO says it cannot negotiate with Israel while it continues to build illegal Jewish-only housing on occupied land which would be a Palestinian state in a two-state solution based on 1967 borders.

The US has repeatedly called on Israel to stop building settlement, and publicly condemns Israeli settlement building.

But in February, the US used its veto at the Security Council to nix a UN resolution condemning settlement building. All other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by some 130 countries.

The resolution stated that: "Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respect its legal obligations in this regard."

Washington's veto was the first by President Barack Obama's administration at the United Nations.

Some 500,000 Jews live in settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. There are about 2.5 million Palestinians in the same territory. All settlements are illegal under international law.
1 ) Philip / Ireland
25/10/2011 13:38
Following this secret approach by the US which entirely offends the principle applied by international conventions with respect to building of settlements on occupied territory, the Palestinian administration should cease all contacts with US unless and until there is a public retraction of this position. The Palestinians should also seek condemnation of the US for this 'unauthorised' approach by all other States in the UN who are content to abide by and apply international law.

2 ) Palestinian 4 ever / Palestine
25/10/2011 13:52
It is not the "violent Palestinians" who create "conflict," it is violent Zionism which has colonized & ethnically cleansed Palestine.

3 ) Tibi / Tubas
25/10/2011 15:26

The US should NOT expect the Israeli government to give anything
( NOT another 10 month freeze, or even a 9 day freeze ),
WITHOUT the PLO immediately giving something in return !!!

And, if the PLO refuses to show-up & compromise, then
the US offer should also include "harsh consequences" for the PA too !!!

4 ) r cummings / UK
25/10/2011 17:05
Wrong Tibi. The PA has honoured its roadmap agreements. It presides over a peaceful West Bank. It is not occupying anyone else's territory, building illegal ethnic apartment blocks on it or stealing their water. It needs to offer nothing prior to negotiations. Israel is a different kettle of fish. It hasn't honoured its roadmap agreements, continues to break them by more settlement building, forcing out Arabs and not demolishing the illegal outposts. Israel is the one that needs to comply.

5 ) AKeenReader / UK
25/10/2011 17:05
How dare US suggests new settlement freeze but not on existing settlements. This is not their land and don;t have any right to suggest this stupid proposal if that was proposed. They should offer alternative settlements in the US. US should keep their mouth shut.

6 ) 2 Philip / Ireland
25/10/2011 17:17
The US vetoed a resolution in the Security Council calling Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal. They are not going to back down on this point, especially during a Presidential election. The Palestinians are free to cut off all contact with the US, but they would only be hurting themselves. Cheers!

7 ) Wissam / Palestine
25/10/2011 17:17
#3 True, nothing will be given by Israel. However, everything will be taken from Israel !! Just wait and see, settler-colonist entities usually don't last long. Kingdom of Jerusalem was lucky it lasted 200 years. I predict your side freak show will last 70. Congratulations, you will break the record for continuous Jewish state, the last one (Kingdom of David) lasted a meager 60 years!!!

8 ) southparkbear / usa
25/10/2011 19:24
check on craig's list for updates

9 ) Seshemisham / Israel
25/10/2011 19:50
Taking a closer look makes things less dramatic: some 195000 Israelis live in the jewish neighbourhoods of East-Jerusalem where there was nothing before they were built.
Some 200000 Israelis live on a narrow strip close to the green line, approximately 8% of the area of the West Bank. Only some 100000 , living further inside or in the arab neighbourhoods of East-Jerusalem are really causing a problem. In 2008 6000 new units were built in the 8% area and only 760 in the rest of zone C.

10 ) Philip / Ireland
25/10/2011 20:59
To 6 : The us veto exercised in February is widely known. The true US position was underlined by their withdrawal of aid [$200m] following the PA's insistence on progressing their legitimate aim of a Palestinian state in the UN. Now that we know what the US opposes, the question needs to be asked of the US ..... what are you actually in favour of as regards the plight of the oppressed Palestinian citizen? And how do you actually intend to demonstrate this to the world?

11 ) Peter Wilson / Lake Okareka NZ
25/10/2011 22:17
#9 Wrong. All land theft, illegal squats on occupied land, and illegal control of resources can ever be mitigated or, by whatever tortured logic, be justified. Tell me #9, how many Palestinian "settler" towns have been established in Israel against the wishes of Israelis?

12 ) Ismail and Isaac / Palestine
26/10/2011 03:39
God will right all wrongs.

13 ) Mel / USA
27/10/2011 15:40
If there's 1 thing Israel knows? It's that UK,USA,& all nations which have hosted Israel & evil Nazi-Zionism since 1947,r beginning 2 get really pissed off with Israel & realize,more openly,that rabid,nuclear,Israel/Zionism is probably our greatest,most existential problem & threat,whether directly or indirectly.Support 4 Israel's cost nations greatly.Whether economic,honor,national integrity,global trust,national infrastructure,or spiritual hypocrisy.
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