Israel will not slow settlement construction to kick-start peace talks

BETHLEHEM/PNN/

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied Arab media reports claiming that Tel Aviv had agreed to slow the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank to kick-start the peace process.

The  Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied reports today by Al Hayat Arabic daily which claimed that White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt and senior Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders had secured backing for new final status agreement talks, including assurances from Israel that construction in the occupied West Bank would be slowed during negotiations with the PA.

Greenblatt met a Palestinian delegation headed by chief negotiator of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Saeb Erekat, yesterday and informed him of President Donald Trump’s initiative to re-launch political negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Al Hayat said that during the meeting, which discussed Trump’s vision for kick-starting talks including all final status issues, Palestinian officials confirmed that the Israeli side promised the Americans that they intended to slow down construction of settlements during the negotiating process.

The paper also claimed that Trump will formally announce the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the PA, which will be completed within two years.

Israeli sources however confirmed that no such assurance was given. Greenblatt is due to meet Netanyahu today in preparation for a regional peace summit, which has been provisionally scheduled for September 2017.

On the other said Deputy of occupation Army Minister Eli Ben-Dahan saying tols Israeli media that Palestinian state does “not exist” and attempts to represent it on an international level are a “dirty game”.

According to the right-wing Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayoum, Ben-Dahan said: “Representing Palestine for taekwondo by a delegation from Jerusalem is something false… This dirty sport will not lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Palestine’s participation in the sport during an event in Tunisia caused a wide range of angry responses by Israeli officials, the newspaper added.

Another extremist Israeli official called for banning Palestinian organisations working in Jerusalem and for an investigation into how this Palestinian team, which includes members who hold Israeli IDs, represented Palestine while they are from Jerusalem.

The team is from occupied East Jerusalem, but right-wing Israeli officials and consider both East and West Jerusalem the united capital of Israel.

Palestinians have to understand they won’t have a state and Israel will rule over them.

Early this year, Ben-Dahan, a MK for the Jewish Home, suggested Israeli soldiers be granted “immunity” to shoot Palestinians.

Israel Channel 2 reported that he proposed a bill saying that Israeli soldiers should “enjoy immunity from actions they carried out or refrained from carrying out, and all before, after and during an operational activity or terrorist attack that was not part of the day-to-day operational activities of the unit in which he/she works or serves.”

972Magazine explained the bill, saying: “In other words: soldiers and police officers will be able to shoot to kill — before, during, or after a military operation, and regardless of how justified the act is.”