Palestinians demand total freeze in Jewish settlement building ahead of summit
The Palestinians have told the United States they will accept nothing less than a total freeze in Jewish settlement building ahead of a summit on statehood, a top Palestinian official said on Saturday.
According to Reuters, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he sent a letter to the Bush administration on Friday demanding that Israel fully meet its obligations under a long-stalled "road map" peace plan. The road map demands a freeze on "all settlement activity", including so-called "natural growth" of existing settlements. It also calls on the Palestinians to rein in armed groups.
"Enough games. We want to see an end to settlement expansion and natural growth," Erekat said.
He did not make clear what the Palestinians would do if the demand was not met.
About 270,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank among 2.5 million Palestinians.
Palestinian officials said the Annapolis, Maryland, conference would begin on Nov. 26. The main session will take place the following day, Israeli officials said.