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53647Haaretz - PA scoffs at Clinton for praising 'unprecedented' Israeli concessions

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  • Paul
    Nov 1, 2009
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      Haaretz -
      Last update - 09:31 01/11/2009



      PA scoffs at Clinton for praising 'unprecedented' Israeli concessions
      By Haaretz Service and Agencies

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1125026.html


      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman on Saturday scoffed at
      U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's statement that Israel
      is making "unprecedented" concessions on West Bank settlement construction.

      "There can be no excuse for the continuation of settlements, which is
      really the main obstacle in the way of any credible peace process," said
      Nabil Abu Rdainah.

      During a press conference on Saturday night with Prime Minister Benjamin
      Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Clinton said: "What the Prime Minister has
      offered in specifics of a restraint on the policy of settlements which
      he has just described - no new starts for example, is unprecedented in
      the context of prior-to negotiations."
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      She also said a freeze in settlement building had not been a condition
      for peace talks in the past and urged both sides to resume talks now.

      But Abu Rdainah said: "A settlement freeze and acknowledging the terms
      of reference is the only way towards peace negotiations. Settlement is
      illegitimate and it is not possible to accept any justification for the
      continuation of the settlement activity or to defend it in the lands
      occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem."

      Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Sami
      Abu Zuhri, said Saturday the U.S. could not effectively engage in
      peacemaking while ignoring Hamas, and said Clinton's visit was "destined
      to fail."

      During the press conference, Netanyahu said Israel was ready to start
      talks right away and that the Palestinians could bring their objections
      about settlements to the negotiating table.

      "What we should do on the path to peace is get on it and get with it,"
      he said.

      The prime minister also blasted the Palestinian demand for a settlement
      freeze.

      "But this is a new demand, it's a change of policy - of the Palestinian
      policy and it doesn't do much for peace - it doesn't work to advance
      negotiations," Netanyahu said. "It actually is used as a pretext... as
      an obstacle that prevents the re-establishment of negotiations."