GAZA CITY, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - Palestinians will not resume peace talks with Israel until it freezes settlement construction on the West Bank, a Palestinian official said on Saturday ahead of a meeting with the top U.S. diplomat.
Hillary Clinton is due to meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Persian Gulf city of Abu Dhabi on Saturday before traveling to Israel for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamen Netanyahu and other officials. The meetings are part of Washington's efforts to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.
"The resumption of talks is impossible... without Israel acknowledging a need to freeze settlement construction," Nabil Abu Rudeina said as quoted by the Palestinian official WAFA agency.
"Any such activity on the West Bank and [East] Jerusalem is illegal and unacceptable," he said.
Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank is a major obstacle to reviving peace talks with the Palestinians, and a sticking point in relations with the United States, Israel's main ally. The talks broke off when Netanyahu came to power.
The U.S. administration has pressured Israel to end construction, but Tel Aviv has only agreed to cut the building of its settlements.
Despite Washington's vows to forge Middle East peace, Clinton last week gave President Barack Obama a pessimistic report on his administration's so-far frustrated efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Clinton is to meet with Arab foreign ministers in Morocco on Monday and Tuesday at an international conference.