A second round of peace talks between the Israeli and
Palestinian negotiation teams concluded on Monday without yielding
results or progress, local media reported.
The two-hour meeting held in Jerusalem ended in disagreement
with the Palestinians calling Israeli settlement building illegal,
a top Palestinian negotiator said.
Palestinians insisted that Israel stop settlement expansion,
while Israelis demand that the Palestinians implement reforms in
"This is illegal because the 'road map' (peace plan) stipulates
that you should stop all settlement activity, including natural
growth," the Palestinian top negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted by
Ha'aretz as saying after the session.
The Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams met for the second
time since the international peace conference held last month in
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled to meet later in the week for the first
time since the Annapolis peace conference. The two leaders will try
to resolve the main problematic issues obstructing the talks at
Israel has expanded plans to build new homes in a disputed East
Jerusalem neighborhood as well as in a nearby settlement, according
to the Housing Ministry's proposed budget for 2008.
Earlier this month, Israel angered the Palestinians and drew
criticism from the United States when it announced plans to build
307 new apartments in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har
(Xinhua News Agency December 25, 2007)