Palestinians fear Israeli-U.S. understanding over settlements
The Palestinians are afraid that Israel and Washington would reach an understanding allowing the continuation of settlement activities in the West Bank, a local newspaper reported Saturday.
"The U.S. administration's failure to obtain an Israeli pledge to stop all forms of settlement fuels our doubts and fears," the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam daily quoted sources from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as saying, Xinhua reported.
This issue is placed on the top of the discussions the Palestinians are going to hold with the U.S. envoy George Mitchell who is visiting the region next week, according to the sources.
Mitchell, in a recent phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that all his talks with Israeli leaders, mainly Defense Minister Ehud Barak, had "failed to get an Israeli commitment to halt all settlement activities."
For the Palestinians, the Israeli settlements annex the land of their future statehood which they seek to build in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
They will not accept any "compromise or middle-ground solutions " when it comes to the settlements, the report said. "Israel has to stop the construction, including the so-called natural growth in accordance with the Road Map obligations," the sources said, referring to the U.S.-backed peace plan.
The PNA has refused to resume peace negotiations with Israel unless the latter meets the international demands over the Jewish settlements.