The Palestinians will pull out of peace talks with Israel if Tel Aviv does not prolong its moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas started the first direct talks between the two sides in some 20 months in Washington on September 2.
"The direct Palestinian-Israeli talks will last only for a month if the Israeli government does not prolong its moratorium on settlement construction," Abbas said.
"This was clear to President Obama and [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton...and I told [Israeli Premier] Netanyahu," Abbas said.
The moratorium expires on September 26.
Israeli-Palestinian direct talks came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
The Palestinians have so far cited ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as the main obstacle to resuming peace talks.
GAZA STRIP, September 6 (RIA Novosti)