Talking to Israel great deception: AL
Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:48PM
Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa
The Arab League (AL) chief says negotiating with Israel as it continues to expand its settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands equals going along with political legerdemain.
“Negotiating under settlement expansion is a great deception,” Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the regional organization, told a press conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Monday, dpa reported.
Tel Aviv has insisted on talking to the Palestinian Authority (PA) without any preconditions.
The Palestinians, who say Tel Aviv's construction of illegal Jewish settlement units on the occupied territories is meant to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, insist on a complete freeze on the settlement activities as a prerequisite.
“…how do we negotiate on land being eroded?" Moussa asked.
Tel Aviv refused to extend a partial freeze on the settlement activities in late September, thus stalling direct talks with the PA that had resumed earlier that month in the United States.
The Palestinian people "are steadfast and patient, but suffer a lot because of the occupation and repressive actions,” the AL chief said on the anniversary of Tel Aviv's December 2008-January 2009 war on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.
“I visited Gaza and saw the situation for myself. It was a painful thing to see," he said.
He repeated the organization's insistence on an end to Israel's siege of Gaza, which has been depriving the 1.5-million Palestinians there of food, fuel and other necessities since mid-June 2007.
Moussa said the issue of Middle East “peace” and Palestine would top the body's 2011 agenda.
The comments came amid a groundswell of international support for the Palestinians in which several world nations, including Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador have said they recognize a Palestinian state and reports have pointed to Uruguay and Paraguay's intention to take the same measure in the future.
The recognition would be based on the Palestinian borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, when Tel Aviv captured the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip alongside expanses of other Arab territories.