Ma'an News Agency
November 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The continued expansion of Israeli settlements could force Palestinians to abandon the notion of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday.

It may be time for President Mahmoud Abbas to "tell his people the truth, that with the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option," Erekat told a Ramallah news conference, according to Reuters.

Israel has refused to comply with previous obligations to dismantle settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s current government has rejected calls from it close ally the US for a freeze on settlements as a step toward re-launching peace negotiations.

On Saturday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that talks be resumed without a settlement freeze, a notion Abbas rejected.

Reuters reported that Erekat said Clinton -- who praised as unprecedented Netanyahu's offer to limit temporarily construction in West Bank settlements to 3,000 additional housing units -- was only opening the door to more settlements in the next two years.

The alternative left for Palestinians is to "refocus their attention on the one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals", Erekat was quoted as saying. "It is very serious. This is the moment of truth for us."


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