Photo: Maan News Agency
Photo: AFP/Maan News Agency

Bethlehem, 9 Sya’ban 1436/27 May 2015 (MINA) – Senior PLO officials on Tuesday rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to resume peace talks that would allow the annexation of settlements, stressing that all construction in the occupied West Bank is illegal.

“It’s a request to continue illegal settlement construction with Palestinian consent. This looks like one state and two systems rather than two sovereign and democratic states,” the PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said, Maan News Agency reports as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).

“If Mr. Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including a halt of settlement construction and the release of the Palestinian prisoners.”

Erekat was responding to comments made by the Israeli PM during a visit last Wednesday by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

The remarks, first reported in Haaretz, said that talks should first clarify which areas of the occupied West Bank that Israel could continue to build in.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi joined the condemnation of the proposal, calling it a “disingenuous and manipulative exercise of political and legal deception.”

She said: “All settlements are illegal and in flagrant contravention of international law and consensus, and any efforts to annex and to legalize the settlement blocs is a blatant attempt to steal more Palestinian land and to legitimize Israel’s ongoing system of apartheid, land theft and expansion.”

She added that peace talks should be based on international law and create a binding timetable for the removal of all settlements in the occupied West Bank. (T/P010/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)