News / Middle East

Abbas Says No Peace Without Moratorium on Settlement Construction

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid