RAMALLAH, October 25 (JMCC) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that settlements have for decades been a unilateral step taken by Israel. The statement came in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement who has urged Palestinians not to take a unilateral approach towards statehood.
President Abbas warned that Palestinians may in the future ask that the United Nations to recognize their independent state.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are at the heart of the current stalemate. Netanyahu imposed a 10-month halt to new construction in settlements last November to bring Palestinians back to the table. But it took nine months of intensive U.S. mediation to restart direct talks.
Netanyahu faced stiff opposition to the building restrictions from inside his government and said he would not renew the measure, which expired Sept. 26. Construction has begun on more than 500 new homes since then, according to settler officials and a count by The Associated Press.
Palestinians insist they will not hold talks while settlement construction continues. They have been suggesting recently that they would seek other solutions if the talks fail.
One possibility would be asking the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
That would not dislodge the Israeli military from the West Bank, dismantle the 120 Jewish settlements there or give Palestinians free access to east Jerusalem. But it could isolate Israel and change the diplomatic equation.Read
more at the Associated Press…