Hamdallah urges US to increase pressure on Israel

Maan News Agency | July 1, 2013

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Caretaker Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Monday met with a US delegation in Ramallah, and urged the officials to pressure the US administration to put more pressure on Israel to uphold its obligations.

Hamdallah met with a US delegation headed by Democratic Party member and Senator Chris Coons in Ramallah to discuss the latest developments in the peace process.

“Why does Israel approve new settlement projects each time US officials visit the region and US efforts are resumed to achieve peace?” Hamdallah asked the delegation, according to official PA media.

The United States must pressure Israel to halt settlement building on occupied Palestinian territory, the premier said.

Israeli media reported Sunday that Israel is poised to approve incentives for buyers of nearly 1,000 new homes in the illegal East Jerusalem settlement of Har Homa.

The reports emerged as US Secretary of State John Kerry was wrapping up an intensive four days of shuttle diplomacy toing and froing between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to coax them back to direct negotiations.

Last week, on the eve of Kerry’s arrival, the municipal planning committee granted final approval for a further 69 new homes in another area of Har Homa.

The reports were not well received in Ramallah, where chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat said it proved how serious Israel was about restarting talks.

“This is Netanyahu’s response to everything Kerry said, to his ideas and to all his efforts,” he told AFP, noting that the news emerged “before Kerry wraps up his tour”.

“We on the Palestinian side tried every possible effort to help Kerry succeed, but it is obvious today… that Netanyahu is putting 930 obstacles in front of Secretary Kerry’s efforts,” he charged.

“Netanyahu alone is responsible for ruining Kerry’s efforts and trying to abort his mission and destroying the two-state solution which is supported by the entire international community.”

AFP contributed to this report

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