Palestinian National Council Speaker Salim Zanoun said on Sunday that the international Quartet statement calling for a return to negotiations lacked impartiality and credibility.
In a statement, the PLO legislative body’s head said the statement was timed to influence international public opinion, and “to mislead the world by saying that negotiations are doable in light of settlement expansion.”
The diplomatic Quartet — made up of the US, the European Union, Russia and the UN — issued a call for a return to talks within a month on Sept. 23, as President Mahmoud Abbas handed Palestine’s application for UN membership, a move opposed by Israel and the US.
The Quartet proposal did not insist of a halt to settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which Palestinian officials say is necessary for the viability of a Palestinian state.
Coming straight after the bid, the talks plan was aimed at influencing world opinion, and the member states of the Security Council, who are tasked with voting on admission of new members, Zanoun said.
The PLO official said Abbas was correct to insist peace could not be achieved while settlements continued to be built.
“What negotiations is the Quartet statement is talking about, while Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian lands to build settlement homes every day?
“Is not the approval of new residential units in settlements a serious breach of the road map plan, and international law?” Zanoon said.
The Israeli government announced plans on Tuesday to build 1,100 new homes in Gilo, on annexed land near Jerusalem.
Israel’s policy makes the two-state solution impossible, and brings the entire region to the brink of war and violence, Zanoun warned.
Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah also said Sunday that “returning to negotiations requires the commitment of Israel to halt settlement activities and to recognize the 1967 borders without any equivocation or any attempts to avoid the international resolutions.”
“If Israel is serious, it has to commit without any reservations to the international resolutions as stated in the road map, the resolutions of the United Nations and the Arab peace initiative,” Abu Rudeinah told the official news agency Wafa.