Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 27, 2008 - 4:27pm

Palestinian authority prime minister Salam Fayyad Thursday called on Israel to reopen border crossing with the Gaza Strip which were shut after rocket attacks tested a fragile truce between the Jewish state and Hamas.

"We have 1.5 million of our people with a sense of not having much to lose. That situation must end," Fayyad told a news conference in Prague with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility for three rockets fired at southern Israel on Tuesday which led to Israel shutting down border crossings with the Gaza Strip a day later.

Fayyad demanded that Israel to respect past peace undertakings, in particular a pledge to halt new Jewish settlements.

"Israel should fully comply with the undertakings and obligations of the roadmap including especially the requirement of a freeze of settlement activity," he said.

The roadmap was drawn up by the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations in 2003 to foster peace by paving the way for a viable Palestinian state.

Respect for these undertakings "improve and enhance the credibility of the political process," he added.

Israeli authorities said this month that they had approved a plan to build 40,000 new homes in Jerusalem over the next 10 years, including in the annexed Arab eastern sector of the city in a move which has angered Palestinians, who want east Jerusalem as their future capital.

Topolanek echoed the demand. "International pressure and pressure from ourselves has been exerted (on Israel) so that new settlements do not take place," he said.

The Czech premier added that Prague would seek to use its relations with Israel and Palestinian leaders to push forward Middle East peace moves during its EU presidency starting in January 2009.


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