Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian delegation at the talks with Israel, confirmed Sept. 30, that stopping construction of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is a key to continue a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Xinhua news agency reports.
The statement followed the Palestinian National Authority head Mahmoud Abbas's meeting with the U.S. Special Envoy on the Middle East George Mitchell in Ramallah.
"We aren't against the direct talks, on the contrary, we want to achieve through negotiations a lasting solution to this problem, namely: establishment of independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel within the borders of 1967," Erekat told journalists after the meeting.
Chief Palestinian negotiator confirmed that a determinant of continuing the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is cessation of constructing the Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territory.
White House special envoy Mitchell said that Washington will continue its efforts so that Palestinians and Israelis could take a single position on the future peace talks.
Direct peace dialogue, which the Palestinians and Israelis resumed in early September after a two-year break, appeared in jeopardy because of the disagreement of Israel to extend the moratorium on the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The moratorium expired Sept. 26.
In response, the Palestinian Authority announced that it will not continue the negotiations mediated by the Quartet on the Middle East (Russia, U.S., EU and UN), but referred the matter to the consideration of the League of Arab States, which is meeting next Wednesday in Cairo.
Possible failure of the peace talks disturbs the U.S. administration and the EU, which have repeatedly appealed to the Israeli leadership to freeze the construction of residential complexes in the occupied territories.
There are more than 100 Jewish settlements with 300,000 Jewish Israeli residents on the West Bank, which was occupied by Israel in 1967. In addition, about 200,000 Israelis reside in East Jerusalem, which the international community refers as the occupied territory and the status of which must be defined in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.