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Barghouthi warns against Israel talks

31 August 2010 8:08

Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi has urged acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider his decision to engage in direct talks with Israel.

Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah on Monday, Barghouthi warned the PA against emboldening Tel Aviv by making concessions in upcoming negotiations, Ma’an news agency reported.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority agreed to calls by the US state department on Friday to sit at the negotiating table with Israel — without any preconditions — at a summit scheduled for September 2 in Washington.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted on resuming settlement construction in the West Bank as soon as Tel Aviv’s 10-month moratorium expires on September 26.

Barghouthi noted that illegal settlement construction on Palestinian land has continued in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and elsewhere in the West Bank throughout the partial freeze, which excluded projects already in the pipeline and those in East al-Quds, as well as so-called community centers.

He warned that Israeli settlement expansions would probably intensify significantly at the end of next month, and that negotiations were aimed at providing a cover for illegal settlement activities.

The lawmaker recalled how Israel had derailed peace talks by insisting on the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” which he said would liquidate the rights of Palestinians living inside the occupied West Bank, and consecrate the Israeli regime.

“Among the many international, Arab and Palestinian officials I met with recently, no one expressed even the slightest optimism about the success of the negotiations. The direct talks are going to be another Israeli game as no real Israeli partner is available for peace,” he concluded.

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