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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid