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Erekat: Peace Talks Require Settlement Halt

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday that peace talks with Israel are contingent on a halt to West Bank settlement construction — and that he doesn’t expect any major progress to come out of his meeting with an Israeli envoy unless Israel agrees to that condition.

Speaking to reporters, Erekat also said that Israel must accept the 1967 lines as a basis for a border with a future Palestinian state.

The veteran Palestinian negotiator is slated to sit down Tuesday in Jordan with Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho. It marks the first official meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials since September 2010, when negotiations between the two parties stalled.

The talks come as Palestinians are preparing a diplomatic offensive, designed to put Israel under “a real international siege.”

The campaign that the Palestinians are planning to launch later this month could include pushing the UN Security Council to pass a resolution condemning settlement construction and urging the International Criminal Court to try Israel for war crimes related to its 2008-2009 incursion into the Gaza Strip.

“The campaign will be similar to the one waged against apartheid in South Africa,” according to a Fatah Central Committee document obtained by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

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