News / Middle East

Abbas Says No Peace Without Moratorium on Settlement Construction

Margaret Besheer

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly Saturday that there cannot be peace with Israel unless the Jewish state ceases settlement construction in areas they claim for a future state.

President Abbas said Israel must halt construction in areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which Palestinians want to see as the capital of their future state. He said Israel's choice is clear.

"Israel must choose between peace and the continuation of settlements," he said.

He said Palestinian demands for a halt to settlement building is not an "arbitrary pre-condition" but a long-standing Israeli commitment and obligation.

He also called for the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, the dismantling of the barrier separating Israel and the West Bank, and an end to checkpoint closures which, he said deprive the Palestinian people of their basic human rights.

Israel is set to lift its ten-month moratorium on most West Bank settlement building on Sunday, and the Palestinians have threatened to walk out of the U.S.-backed peace talks if that happens.

The United States is working intensively to avoid a breakdown in the talks. On Friday evening, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with President Abbas, and U.S. Envoy George Mitchell was to meet the Palestinian leader again Saturday.  

The Middle East peace process figured prominently in speeches Saturday as the U.N. General Assembly annual debate continued.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the settlement issue has become a major factor in determining the level of Israel's commitment to making the negotiations a success, and if Israel reneges on the settlement freeze, it should be held accountable for any negative repercussions.

"If Israel fails in its commitment to continue freezing its settlement activities, then it would expose the negotiation process to collapse and it will shoulder the full responsibility before the regional and world public opinion, as well as the American sponsor for wasting this valuable opportunity which was made possible by a major American effort," he said.

Germany's foreign minister (Guido Westerwelle) also called for an extension on the moratorium and urged both sides to refrain from taking any action which might "block the path to peace."

And Australia's new foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, called on the parties to work hard to seize the historic opportunity before them.

In his General Assembly address on Thursday, President Barack Obama called on the international community to rally behind U.S.-led efforts for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a year.

Israel's foreign minister will address the General Assembly on Tuesday.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid