US, Israel move closer to agreement to curb settlements

26 March, 2017, 00:05 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • PD images

After four days of talks between the USA and Israel on the future of the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise, the two sides issued a joint statement saying the issues remain "exceptionally complicated" and that the talks have been serious and beneficial. "This obsessive focus on Israel must end".

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of their future state, but expanding settlements by Israel have been complicating the process.

The U.S. denunciation of the United Nations focus on Israel comes even as the Trump administration is seeking curbs on Israeli settlement building as part of its effort to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Jason Greenblatt, Trump's worldwide negotiations representative, recently visited Israel and the disputed territories for a series of high-level meetings, including with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The representative of Bolivia said that the occupation of Palestinian territories had no legal validity and was a flagrant violation of human rights, obstructing the two-State solution.

Greenblatt also told the Israelis that Trump wants to see Netanyahu demonstrate he is willing to take steps to slow construction and take other confidence-building measures, according to the officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jason Greenblatt, March 13, 2017. Trump publicly endorsed a hiatus on settlement building during Netanyahu's visit to Washington last month, but the White House has also said it does not necessarily see the issue as a hindrance to peace. US President-elect Donald Trump and Israel pressed Washington to use the veto.


"The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel's intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration", the statement said on Thursday.

Trump plans a push toward a peace settlement, an elusive goal of many past USA presidents.

"Settlement expansion undermines the very essence of the two-state solution", Mladenov said, "And the resolution states that the global community will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations". But he recently invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit.

In those talks in Jerusalem, Greenblatt reportedly demanded that Israel halt all construction in isolated West Bank settlements and put curbs on new building inside the major settlement blocs, but Netanyahu was said to have rejected the idea.

He encouraged delegates and visitors from all over the world to come to Palestine, and join the nonviolent resistance activities to witness the true nature of this ongoing illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, its apartheid and racist policies.

"The key will be ensuring that this meeting is more than a photo-op", one Arab official said.

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