News / Middle East

Palestinians Reject Israel's Offer on Settlement Freeze

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, center, speaks during a joint press conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, left, and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, right, after their meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, center, speaks during a joint press conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, left, and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, right, after their meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud
Luis Ramirez

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to extend a building freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank if the Palestinians agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Israeli leader's offer Monday came as talks remained stalled between Israel and the Palestinians on the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The Palestinians last week said they would not return to negotiations after Israel refused to extend a partial freeze on construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank that expired September 26.

Speaking to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if the Palestinian leadership says unequivocally that it recognizes Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, he will ask his government to extend the building freeze.

He said he expects the Palestinians to take trust-building steps and convince the majority of Israelis who he said have, in the past ten years, lost trust in the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians immediately dismissed Mr. Netanyahu's offer. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told VOA, Mr. Netanyahu's demands are unacceptable.

"I don't see the relevance between his need to stop settlement activities in compliance with international law as an occupying power and his demand for us to recognize his country and its religious character," Erekat  said. "We have recognized the State of Israel as it exists and we cannot go further than that. But the fact that he needs to have a settlement freeze in order to resume the negotiations is an obligation for him."

In the past, the Palestinians have refused to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state out of concern that would bring discrimination against Arabs who live inside Israel and give up the rights of Palestinian refugees who were displaced upon the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The aim of the talks - for the Palestinians - is to establish a Palestinian state. The Palestinians say the Israeli settlements encroach on land that would be part of that future state.

Many Israelis express concerns that a new Palestinian state could be a threat to Israel. They point to what happened in the Gaza Strip after Israel's 2005 pullout, when the militant Islamist group Hamas - whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state - seized power.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid