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Israel defiant against US over settlements

[ 2010-09-28 10:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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Israel allowed its halt in construction in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank to expire on Monday, defying a US call to extend the moratorium and risking a Palestinian withdrawal from peace talks.

Minutes after the moratorium expired, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to continue "expedited, honest talks" to achieve a peace agreement within a year.

"Israel is ready to pursue continuous contacts in the coming days to find a way to continue peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," he said in a statement.

Abbas told reporters in Paris late on Sunday: "If Israel chooses peace, we will continue to negotiate. If Israel doesn't it will be a waste of time".

Netanyahu has resisted calls from US President Barack Obama to extend the construction freeze but the United States said on Sunday it was trying to ensure both sides continued to negotiate despite Israel's decision.

"Our policy on settlement construction has not changed. We remain in close touch with both parties and will be meeting with them again in the coming days," US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a recent statement.

"We remain focused on the goal of advancing negotiations toward a two-state solution and encourage the parties to take constructive actions toward that goal.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had twice spoken to Netanyahu on Sunday, he said.

Netanyahu, whose governing coalition is dominated by pro-settler parties, earlier urged Jewish settlers to show restraint before the freeze ended at midnight.

His plea to settlers appeared aimed at persuading Abbas not to carry out his threat to quit negotiations launched in Washington on Sept 2, unless the freeze were then extended.


1. What is the name of Israel’s Prime Minister?

2. What was the focus of Monday’s talks?

3. Who is the Palestinian President?


1. Benjamin Netanyahu.

2. Continuing construction halt in West Bank.

3. Mahmoud Abbas.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Israel defiant against US over settlements

Israel defiant against US over settlements

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.