Ma'an News Agency
September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

American mediators may step in and offer a solution to the settlements issue, an informed source told Ma'an on Wednesday.

Citing what the source called precedents in the talks in both Washington and Egypt, the source said that on a growing number of occasions mediators had intervened during crisis points, and offered median solutions to the issues at hand.

"It is distinctly possible that [the US] will present proposals on the settlement issue, under which Israel would be committed to stop expansions beyond their current borders, as well as limit vertical expansion," as a cap system forcing settlement construction to fill-in already occupied areas of Palestinian land.

The current boundaries of settlements in the West Bank, however, occupy some 40 percent of the land, one source added, saying he believed this fact alone would "lead to the total rejection of a median solution in this respect."

Palestinian political analyst Sameeh Shubeib said the Palestinian stance on rejecting talks if Israel did not come through with a settlement freeze was a wise one. He criticized those who attempted to discredit the Palestinian position, saying it only created weakness in the political camp, and could harm diplomatic actions.

"The settlements issue needs to be discussed as the root concern of the talks," Suheib said, adding that no attempt should be made to avert attention from the issue.

PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo added his stance to the discussion Wednesday morning, during an interview with Palestine Radio. He stressed that "what is important to the Palestinians is to achieve real progress in the peace process," rather than securing what he described as "press statements" only.

Early reports that a deal had been reached with Israel to freeze settlement construction on the ground but not as policy had garnered criticism from some sides, while others praised the reported deal as tactical.

Abed Rabbo made a similar comment when asked his stance on the Israeli request that negotiators recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying he was interested in real progress, and not empty statements.


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