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Palestinian president: peace talks will resume if construction of settlements is halted

West Bank

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that Israel must halt the construction of settlements in the West Bank before peace talks can begin.

Responding to US secretary of state John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday, Abbas said in a statement read out by senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat that he is convinced, however, that peace is achievable.

“The minute the Israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities… the Palestinian leadership stands ready to resume permanent status negotiations,” he said.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014 without resolution.

Palestinians object to calls to recognise Israel as the homeland of the Jews, saying it undermines the rights of Israel’s Arab minority and the claims of Palestinian refugees whose families lost properties after the country was founded.

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