Abbas: Israel undermining peace talks


Israel’s West Bank settlements and security fence aim to undermine negotiations on founding a Palestinian state, Mahmoud Abbas said.

“The parameters and plans of the solution that Israel is drawing on the ground would not leave more than a group of isolated enclaves of land torn apart by settlements and the wall of racial separation,” the Palestinian Authority president said Saturday in an address to the Arab League summit in Damascus.

“It is a solution that reinforces the occupation and the settlement process, and which threatens to undermine the possibility of setting up the independent state of Palestine on the Palestinian people’s land, the land of Palestine,” he said.

The remarks, among the more virulent of Abbas’ recent criticisms of Israeli policy, looked likely to overshadow a weekend troubleshooting visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Israel says it has frozen settlement construction in accordance with the U.S.-sponsored peace “road map” but that it will continue building Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.

The West Bank fence, Israel says, is a security measure that could be uprooted if the Palestinian Authority stamps out terrorism as required by the road map.

Recommended from JTA