World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

US Urging West Bank Settlement Freeze -- Israeli


By Robert Berger
Jerusalem

Israeli Officials Say US Urging West Bank Settlement Freeze

Israeli officials say the United States is pushing Israel to offer a key concession to the Palestinians as a long-waited peace conference approaches.

Israeli officials say the United States is pressing Israel to declare a complete freeze on construction in West Bank settlements. Israeli officials say that message was delivered to aides of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who visited Washington last week.

The Bush administration has been meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials in hopes of laying the groundwork for an international peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland planned for the end of this month. The conference is expected to focus on the creation of a Palestinian state, and if it is successful, formal peace talks could resume afterwards.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says a settlement freeze is a step in the right direction, but he doubts that Israel will comply.

"As far as President Bush calling upon Israel to stop settlement activities, it's time to turn these calls into deeds," said Erekat.

In the run up to the planned summit, the Bush administration has been working to give a boost to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was weakened after the Islamic militant group Hamas routed his Fatah forces in June and seized control of the Gaza Strip. Mr. Abbas now heads a more moderate government in the West Bank.

Israeli media reports say Israel is prepared to declare a settlement freeze, as called for in the internationally backed "Roadmap" peace plan. But Israel believes the Palestinians must also keep their part of the deal and crack down on militant groups.

Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, says what is missing is reciprocity from Mr. Abbas, who is also known as Abu Mazen.

"I think what Israel is doing is really a gesture to bolster the regime of Abu Mazen, and in a way to kind of sweeten the deal for him in order to go to Annapolis," said Ayalon. "But they [the Palestinians] should do something in return, and the least of which is to really fight terror in an effective way."

Prime Minister Olmert is due to meet with President Abbas on Monday to try to narrow the gaps on a document on Palestinian statehood that will be presented at the peace conference.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>