Palestinians stand firm on settlements pause

Palestinians stand firm on settlements pause

Dozens of senior Palestinians today backed President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to negotiate with Israel as long as it builds in West Bank settlements.

Israel refuses to extend a 10-month-old curb on settlement construction, while Abbas says there is no point in negotiating as long as settlements eat up more of the land Palestinians want for a future state.

The Obama administration has said it will keep pushing to find a solution to the impasse.

US envoy George Mitchell is scrambling to enlist the help of Arab leaders to rescue the negotiations.

The Palestinians’ final decision on whether to quit the talks is expected at an Arab League summit next weekend.

Today’s unanimous decision by dozens of senior members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Abbas’ Fatah movement makes compromise increasingly unlikely.

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