Palestine: No talks with Israel amid continuation of settlements

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A senior Palestinian official Monday announced that there will be no peace negotiations with Israel amid the continuation of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Yasser Abed Rabbo of Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) executive committee told Xinhua that "halting settlement activities is not only a Palestinian condition, it has also become an international demand."

Abed Rabbo's statements came after hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier on Monday that settlement activities in the area of Jerusalem will continue.

"The Palestinian (National) Authority position is clear, which is no return to the peace negotiations before the Israeli withdrawal of its decisions to build hundreds of new units in settlements in East Jerusalem," said Abed Rabbo.

Last week, an Israeli Interior Ministry committee announced its approval for a project to build 1,600 new housing units in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, just as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel for peace-making efforts.

Meanwhile, Abed Rabbo stressed that the latest Israeli measures in the old city of Jerusalem, mainly the decision of some Jewish organizations to open a synagogue at the flashpoint Noble Sanctuary, would undermine the entire peace process.

"Jerusalem is one of the major issues in the permanent status talks, where any Israeli measure in the city would never contribute at all in creating a serious political peace process," he said.

Nabil Shaath, member of Fatah party's central committee said the Palestinian side "will not go to the proximity talks before the Israeli canceling of all its decisions of expanding settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem."

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