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End of Israeli settlement freeze looms over peace talks

[ 2010-09-26 11:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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Middle East peace talks are facing their first major challenge just three weeks after they began.

A showdown is looming in the Middle East with a 10-month freeze on Israeli settlement construction due to expire on Sunday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from his hawkish coalition partners to resume building in the West Bank on schedule, despite opposition from the United States and the Palestinians.

Danny Denon is a parliamentarian from Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. "If the prime minister will decide to extend the moratorium - he promised he will not do it, publicly and personally to me and to others - we will have to take action. He knows that, He knows the current coalition will not allow him to extend the moratorium."

The US and the Palestinians see the settlements as an obstacle to peace, and they have urged Israel to extend the freeze on construction. Palestinian official Hazzam el-Ahmed says the ball is in Mr. Netanyahu's court.

In remarks broadcast on Israel Radio, el-Ahmed said if settlement construction resumes, the Palestinians will pull out of the peace talks.

But it took 20 months to get the negotiations going again after a long stalemate over the settlements, and neither side wants them to break down after just three weeks. So US, Israeli and Palestinian officials are working feverishly behind the scenes to try to hammer out a compromise that will keep the peace process on track.

hawkish: preferring to use military action rather than peaceful discussion in order to solve a problem(鹰派的;主战的;强硬的)

moratorium: a temporary stopping of an activity, especially by official agreement 暂停,中止(尤指经官方同意的)

stalemate: a situation in a dispute or competition in which neither side is able to win or make any progress (辩论或比赛中出现的)僵局,僵持局面

hammer out: to come to an agreement after much arguing 反复讨论出(一致意见);充分研讨出(决定)

Related stories:

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations continue despite many challenges

Netanyahu: No guarantee talks with Palestinians will succeed

Israelis, Palestinian West Bank residents say no compromise on settlements

Israelis, Palestinians hold little hope for direct talks

(来源:VOA 编辑:陈丹妮)