Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, pictured on July 6, said in an interview broadcast on Israeli TV on Saturday that Israel's continuing settlement building was worsening the chances for two states at peace with one another. © Bertrand Guay - AFP/File
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas
AFP
Last updated: July 8, 2012

Israelis and Palestinians trade blame for peace deadlock

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said in an interview broadcast on Israeli TV on Saturday that Israel's continuing settlement building was worsening the chances for two states at peace with one another.

"The Palestinians support a two-state solution but the Israeli government settlement policy makes many Palestinians say that there will be no territory left to discuss for a Palestinian state," he told commercial Channel 2, in an interview recorded at Abbas's Ramallah headquarters earlier in the week.

"Israel needs to understand that what it is doing works against the two-state solution," he said, speaking Arabic which the station translated into Hebrew.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office responded with a counterattack on Twitter.

"Even after PM Netanyahu made unprecedented steps such as freezing construction in the settlements, Abbas kept on refusing to hold talks," it said, referring to a partial freeze which expired in September 2010.

"Even now, PM Netanyahu calls upon president Abbas to meet soon in order to promote the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians," it added.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled ever since and the Palestinians have said they will not return to negotiations without a new freeze on construction in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

They also want Israel to accept the lines that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War as the basis for negotiations on future borders, and they are seeking the release of 123 Palestinians held by Israel since before the 1993 autonomy accords.

Abbas says Israel previously agreed to release those prisoners but has not fulfilled its commitment.

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