Should Israel temporarily continue it's freeze on settlement expansion in the West Bank?
Explain your response.
Ahead of talks, Abbas warns Israel on settlements | Reuters
Abbas puts onus for talks on Israel - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
The Palestinian president has warned that Israel would be to blame if resumed direct talks with Israel failed over the Jewish settlements issue.
Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised speech on Sunday that "the Israeli government alone will bear the responsibility of threatening these negotiations with collapse and failure if it continues settlement expansion in all its forms in all the Palestinian lands it has occupied since 1967".
"We support the need of Israel and our people for security, but this cannot be a pretext to justify settlement activities and taking away other people's land and rights."I believe they should temporarily extend the freeze. The borders between Israel and the West Bank are still disputed, and by building or expanding the settlements Israel is pretty much claiming the land for themselves without due-process.Meanwhile, Silvan Shalom, Israel’s vice prime minister, told Reuters news agency that he viewed Palestinians' calls for a further freeze before the talks began as "unacceptable" and voiced concern the demand could trigger a crisis in Israel's pro-settler government and lead to an early national election.
"[Netanyahu] told us today there will be no decision on September 2 about freezing settlements."
Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, earlier this week voiced confidence the Israeli cabinet would not extend the freeze.
The United States opposes settlement expansion but has stopped demanding Israel to extend the moratorium.
Instead, it has urged both Israel and the Palestinians not to take measures that could jeopardise the negotiations and said the settlement issue would be raised in next week's talks.
Israel's policy of building settlements on occupied Palestinian land is the most contentious issue in negotiations, the first since they were broken off 20 months ago when Israel launched its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip.
At the same time the Palestinian government needs to get to business. It's been 43 years and little has been achieved in ending this. I'm getting sick of the squabbling.