French president calls for Israel settlement halt

Laborers work at a housing construction site in an Israeli settlement in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). (File photo)

Laborers work at a housing construction site in an Israeli settlement in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
French President Francois Hollande has called for a halt to the Israeli regime’s settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying the move hampers the Palestinian-Israeli talks.

Hollande said during a news conference with acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas on Monday that Paris calls for “the total and definitive end to settlement building.”

Abbas, for his part, denounced the Tel Aviv regime’s nonstop settlement expansion as “the greatest threat that could end” talks between the two sides.

The Palestinian Authority and Israelis resumed their US-backed negotiations in late July, but the talks broke down in early November, amid a dispute over Israel’s decision to push ahead with the construction of thousands of new illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

On November 13, Abbas said his negotiating team had resigned over the lack of progress in the negotiations with Tel Aviv.

Abbas made the announcement a day after Tel Aviv issued tenders for the construction of nearly 24,000 new settler units in the occupied West Bank.

On November 14, US President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, told a Washington think tank that the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement expansion lacks “legitimacy” as it fuels tensions thwarting the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

“So let me reiterate: The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” Rice stated.

In similar remarks, US Secretary of State John Kerry described Israeli settlements constructed on the occupied Palestinian land as “illegitimate.”

The Israeli regime has come under fire from the international community, including its own allies, over Tel Aviv’s expansionist policies.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

(Source / 18.11.2013)

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