Israel insists on defying building freeze
Israel insists on continuing to building settlements on occupied Palestinian lands a day after commencing US-led “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“It is evident we will continue to build over the next two years in Gilo, Pisgat Zeev, French Hill,” Israeli Information Minister Yuli Edelstein told public radio on Monday, referring to Jewish settlements in al-Quds (East Jerusalem), AFP reported.
PA announced the start of indirect talks with Israel on Sunday, held under US pressure with the mediation effort of its envoy George Mitchell.
The negotiations were stalled in March after Israel announced plans to build some 2,000 settlement units in East al-Quds. Israel occupied al-Quds as part of the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed it.
The US State Department had claimed on Sunday that Tel Aviv has agreed to a two-year halt in some of the building plans in al-Quds.
“The American administration must respond to those Israeli acts,” AFP quoted Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas as saying on Monday.
Top PA negotiator Saeb Erakat also reiterated that the Palestinian Authority had “officially protested to the American administration” regarding the Israeli defiance on the issue of freezing settlement expansion.