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Jewish control 42 of West Bank

07-07-2010 08:29 BJT

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An Israeli human rights group, claimed on Tuesday that Jewish settlements control more than 42 percent of the West Bank, and that their seizing of some land is actually in defiance of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling.

The group, said the settlements undermine negotiations, that Israel is conducting with the Palestinians.

Israel's settlements have been criticized for decades and a main obstacle to peacemaking with the Palestinians.

B'Tselem said the built-up area of the settlements covers about 1 percent of the West Bank's land area, but the jurisdiction of the settlements and their regional councils covers more than 42 percent.

Jessica Montell, Executive Director of B'Tselem, said, "In spite of the promise of a settlement freeze, in fact settlements continue to expand. And over the past 10 years, we have seen extraordinary growth in the settlements. In fact settlements are growing three times the rate of the Israeli population. "

Getting both sides to resume direct talks is a huge challenge.

The Palestinians have refused to sit down until Israel agrees to freeze construction in areas they want for an independent state.

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Negotiator, said, "The key to the direct negotiations is in the hands of (Israeli) Prime Minister Netanyahu. It's up to him, he has the choice. If he can, what President Obama declare, that Israel will stop settlement activities including natural growth, and resume the negotiations on permanent status issues where we leave it in December 2008, we will have them. We will have direct negotiations. We want direct negotiations."

Media reports say one possible compromise would be to extend the freeze in return for a Palestinian agreement to enter direct talks.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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