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Senior Palestinian Pessimistic About Peace Talks with Israel

A Palestinian man works at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yakir,south of the Palestinians town of Nablus, 27 Sep 2010

A senior Palestinian advisor says he sees no hope of a serious peace process with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as long as Israeli settlement construction continues.

Yasser Abed Rabbo commented Thursday, one day before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Arab League foreign ministers in Libya. Mr. Abbas has said he will decide whether to quit the talks after consulting with the Arab officials.

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are a key issue in the talks between the Palestinians and Israel. Palestinians oppose Israeli construction in areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war, land which Palestinians want for a future state.

News reports say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held talks with senior Israeli politicians on a plan calling for a two-month extension of a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction. Israel observed a 10-month settlement freeze that ended September 26.

Meanwhile, Israeli and Hamas officials say Israeli war planes carried out at least two air raids in the Gaza Strip early Thursday. Israel says it targeted militant sites in response to rocket fire from Gaza, Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.