Palestinians seek UN condemnation of settlements (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Nasser Abu Bakr 04/10/12)
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The Palestinians have sent a letter to the United Nations Security
Council seeking condemnation of Israeli settlement activity, the
Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Riyad al-Malki said the Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour,
had submitted letters to the council and UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on
Monday, ahead of a meeting of the peacemaking Quartet in Washington
"The letters called on the international community, and particularly
the Security Council, to condemn settlement activity -- which is
illegal -- and other illegal Israeli policies in the occupied
Palestinian territory," Malki told AFP.
The message also called for "urgent measures to put pressure on the
occupying power, which is Israel, to compel it to stop these actions
and policies immediately," he said.
The text of the letter warns that Israel´s "illegal and destructive
plans not only inflame tensions but further underscore the dubious
nature of the occupying power´s claims of readiness to negotiate a
It said settlement was part of a campaign "being deliberately waged
in an attempt to seize more Palestinian land and entrench (Israel´s)
control over the Palestinian territory."
Malki said the delivery of the message was carefully timed.
"The goal of these messages at this time in particular is to keep the
issue of settlements at the top of the priorities of the Security
Council and General Assembly," Maliki added.
"These messages anticipate the Quartet meeting being held tomorrow,
which will discuss the stalled peace process in the region," he said.
He said the Palestinians would seek a Quartet statement "that clearly
says that the continuation of settlements is the main obstacle to the
revival of real and serious negotiations."
Senior representatives of the Quartet´s members -- the European
Union, Russia, United States and United Nations -- are expected to
meet in Washington to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process.
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold
since late September 2010, when they ground to a halt over the issue
of settlement construction.
Israel says it wants to return to talks without preconditions, but
the Palestinians insist on a settlement freeze and clear parameters
for discussions of future borders.
The Quartet sponsored several rounds of "exploratory" meetings
between Israeli and Palestinian envoys earlier this year, but the
talks ended without a path back to direct negotiations.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has written to Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laying out Palestinian terms for a return
The letter is set to be handed to Netanyahu on April 17 by a
delegation including Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad,
negotiator Saeb Erakat and senior Palestine Liberation Organisation
official Yasser Abed Rabbo.
Israeli officials have indicated that Netanyahu will respond to the
letter with his own message. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
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