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Nablus Leader Says Settlements ‘annoy’ West Bank Arabs

Hikmat Al-Massri, the former chairman of the Jordanian Parliament, told Israel Radio Friday he joined the anti-settlements demonstrations in Nablus, because “the settlements demonstrations in Nablus, because “the settlements really annoy the people.” Al-Massri was one of the Nablus leaders who were summoned to the Military Government for their participation in the demonstrations.

“There is no longer moderation,” he said. “All the people here, whether moderates or radical, seek self-determination. Therefore there is no difference between moderates and radicals in pursuing the ultimate object of self-determination,” he said.

Al-Massri said since self-determination was the key issue, he did not see any prospects for Palestinian participation in the autonomy talks, unless it was agreed that after a transitional period, the Palestinians were granted self-determination.

He said that if Israel agreed to this, even the Palestine Liberation Organization might join the talks. “If they (the PLO) are not convinced, we will go and convince them,” he said.

However, he said he was not hopeful because he charged that Israel did not show good will toward the Palestinians. Among the major obstacles he said was continued Israeli claim for the territories, and primarily the question of the settlements.

“Settlement after settlement after settlement … the settlements issue is very important,” he declared. “As long as you say that you will continue with the settlements, you are actually saying that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is part of Israel.” (By Gil Sedan)

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