Fatah official: U.S. will not pressure Israel to extend moratorium

Fatah official: U.S. will not pressure Israel to extend moratorium

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 29 /Trend, U.Sadikhova/

The U.S. will not take further actions to pressure Israel to extend the moratorium on the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and soon will put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to continue the peace talks, said a member of the central committee of Fatah Abbas Zaki.

"The Obama Administration would like to reach an agreement, but the U.S. Jewish lobby turned out to be stronger," Zaki, plenipotentiary representative of the Palestinian Authority in Lebanon, told Trend in a telephone conversation.

The Palestinian official believes that Washington might put pressure on Mahmoud Abbas administration to continue negotiations with Israel, even if the construction in the occupied territories continues.

Zaki sees an effort to maintain the internal stability of Obama's administration before the election to Congress in November, in which much depends on the support of the Jewish lobby in the U.S., as the reason.

The construction of houses for the Jewish families was resumed on the Palestinian territories on Monday after last Sunday's ten-month moratorium issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expired.

The Palestinian Authority has declared that it will refuse to continue direct negotiations with Israel launched in early September if the moratorium is not extended.

Despite the dissatisfaction of the Middle East Quartet (Russia, the UN, the U.S. and the EU), Israel refuses to renew a ban on settlement construction.

"If the U.S. makes the Palestinian Authority continue negotiations without stopping the construction of settlements, the Palestinians will remove all responsibility for the consequences in case of failure of peaceful dialog," said Zaki.

He said the Palestinian leadership is studying the issue of appealing for a unified Arab resolution at the UN General Assembly on the future of the peace process.

"It is impossible to continue negotiations while continuing settlement activity," said Zaki. "It needs a final end to the construction of settlements and the evacuation of the settlers from the territory of a future Palestinian state, and not only the introduction of a temporary moratorium."

The role of the main mediator in the peace process - the U.S. - will be significantly limited in the near future, said Zaki.

There are more than 100 Jewish settlements on the West Bank, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, in which more than 300,000 Jewish Israelis live. About other 200,000 live in East Jerusalem, which in terms of the international community, is also referred as to the occupied territories and the status of which must be defined in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

Direct dialog between the sides, which was interrupted in late 2008, was resumed on Sept. 2 in Washington with U.S. mediation. A trilateral summit between U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Head of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas was attended by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II - the only Arab countries which have established diplomatic relations with Israel.

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