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Palestinians demand settlements freeze as condition for extending negotiations

The Palestinian leadership is demanding that Israel freezes its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories as a condition for extending the negotiations.


Maan News Agency quoted on Tuesday the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouti, as saying that the Palestinian leadership has demanded for Israel to freeze its settlement activities, including government tenders to construct settlements, in order to extend the negotiations. The leadership has also decided to seek recognition for the State of Palestine from United Nations organisations if Israel does not release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners as previously agreed.

Barghouti, who attended the Palestinian leadership meeting on Monday to discuss the recent development in the peace process, added that the Palestinians plan to send a delegation of five people to discuss with Hamas ways to end the split with Al-Fatah and reach national reconciliation.

The meeting brought together Al-Fatah movement’s Central Committee, the PLO Executive Committee and the secretaries-general of the Palestinian factions in Ramallah.

Barghouti said the Palestinian leadership will resume its meeting on Tuesday to further discuss the latest developments in the peace process and the results of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel has refused to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners unless the Palestinian Authority agrees to extend the negotiations for another year unconditionally.

Kerry had cancelled his scheduled meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday in Ramallah to meet instead with the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and the head of the Palestinian intelligence service General Majed Faraj in Jerusalem; however, the meeting results were not disclosed to the public.

Diplomatic sources claimed that Kerry cancelled his meeting with Abbas in Ramallah because his first meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exceeded its scheduled time, running nearly five hours.

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