Officials Say Full Freeze Still Needed for Peace Talks
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says that his government will not accept a “partial” settlement freeze as a conciliatory move to kickstart peace talks, saying only a full freeze would do.
Erekat had been pressed on the question of whether a freeze that only covered construction on the outside of the West Bank barrier would be acceptable, which he noted would be all but meaningless since over 90% of settlement construction occurs inside the barrier.
President Obama urged the Palestinians to drop the call of the settlement freeze at all and simply resume talks unconditionally. This has been seen as impractical since Israel has continued to expand deeper into the West Bank throughout the past decades, and seeks to do so going forward.
With settlements encroaching deeper and deeper into the West Bank, the land for a contiguous Palestinian state is getting smaller and smaller, and negotiators are concerned that restarting talks without a freeze would mean their position would get weaker every day, as new expansions mean less territory is up for grabs.
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