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Mideast peace talks reach impasse

10-12-2010 14:04 BJT

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Palestinian officials have rejected Israel's latest offer to extend a moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank. The offer came with a condition that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Palestinians a trade off on Monday to revive peace talks by placing a new freeze on settlement construction. But there were strings attached.

Netanyahu said, "If the Palestinian leadership will say unequivocally to its people that it recognizes Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and request a further suspension..."

Netanyahu made his move just three days after Palestinian and Arab officials gave the United States a month to persuade Israel to declare a new moratorium.

The Palestinians immediately rejected the proposal.

Nabeel Abu Rdainah, Palestinian Presidential Spokesman, said, "The position of the Palestinians and the Arabs is the same, as has been approved yesterday in the Arab summit in Libya, there should be total freeze for the settlement activities. We consider it illegal and there is no connection between this issue and what the prime minister is looking for."

The impasse deepened doubts over the chances of resuming U.S.-brokered negotiations that stalled last month after Israel refused to extend a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians view settlements, on land Israel occupied after the 1967 war, as an obstacle to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has made recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a center-piece of his government's policy.

Palestinians fear such a move could impede the rights of Palestinian refugees, who fled or were forced out of their homes in a series Israeli-Arab wars, to return to territory that is now Israel.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV

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