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Palestinians condemn legalised Israeli settlements

Palestinian leaders condemned Israel’s decision to legalise three settlements on Palestinian land Tuesday, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “immediately cease unilateral actions, especially settlements activity”.

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AFP - The Palestinian presidency criticised on Tuesday an Israeli decision to legalise three outposts as its reply to a letter demanding a settlement freeze to renew peace talks.

"The decision on the settlements is the Israeli answer to president (Mahmud) Abbas' letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Palestinians' presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP, adding that it was "expected."

Abu Rudeina further called on the "Israeli government to immediately cease unilateral actions, especially settlements activity."

Earlier Tuesday, Israel announced it was legalising three settlement outposts in the West Bank, Bruchin, Rechelim and Sansana.

Last week, the Palestinians delivered a letter from Abbas in which he accused Israel of stripping the Palestinian Authority of all of its authority and warned over the slide towards a bi-national state.

Abbas also asked Israel to outline "as soon as possible" its positions on four key issues: the principle of a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, halting settlement activity, releasing all Palestinian prisoners and revoking all decisions which undermine bilateral agreements since 2000.

Both sides agreed the Israelis would respond to the letter within two weeks.

Israel says it wants negotiations without preconditions, but the Palestinians have sought a settlement freeze and clear parameters for talks before returning to the table.

In January, negotiators from both sides held five exploratory meetings in a bid to find a way to resume dialogue, but the talks ended inconclusively.

 

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