Mustafa Barghouthi: Israel using negotiations as cover for expansionism

By Ma’an News Agency, 17 Jan 2010 – updated 18 Jan 2010

Ramallah – Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said on Sunday that returning to negotiations with Israel is not possible until a complete settlement standstill, including in occupied East Jerusalem, is enforced, as well as population growth, during a reception for the European Council.

A timeline for negotiations, Barghouti added, must be identified in order to resume talks. “The Israeli government is trying to deceive the world with talks of its settlement freeze [in the West Bank] while construction is plainly increasing in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

Barghouti called on the EU to end Israeli practices in Jerusalem aimed at Judaizing the city, which he considered as an attempt to liquefy the Palestinian cause.

Settlements and peace, he said, cannot coincide. “Israel is working to return to the negotiating table, which it is using as a cover for expansionism,” Barghouti added. The international community must respect the Palestinian decision to reject negotiations as settlement construction continues and must pressure Israel, and not the Palestinian side, he further asserted.

Barghouti emphasised that the international community must boycott and impose sanctions against Israel for its violations in the occupied Palestinian territories so that opportunities for peace are not lost and the establishment of a Palestinian state is not thwarted, he concluded.

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