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Old 25-07-2009, 09:36 AM   #36
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Israel rejects French demand on peace

Fri, 24 Jul 2009 06:00:10 GMT

The Israeli government has rejected France's demand to halt Jewish settlement activity and to reopen border crossings into the impoverished Gaza Strip.

"A solution to the settlements can only be reached through a comprehensive and final peace agreement," Israel's foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP on Thursday.

Palmor instead called on France to persuade the Palestinian Authority to resume the stalled peace talks with Israel.

"In order to promote peace, France would do well to persuade the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations," he added.

Palestinian say they will not resume the talks until Tel Aviv puts an end to its expansionist policies. Israel has been refusing to heed international calls even form its closest allies including the US to stop its illegal settlement activity.

Israel wants to continue its settlement activity in the occupied West Bank to keep up with what it calls the "natural growth” of the Israeli population. The issue has been widely considered as the main obstacle in the way of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The settlements are built on the land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says the occupying power is not allowed to transfer citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory.

Regarding the Gaza Strip, Palmor said that Israel's blockade of Gaza was the result of "the state of war imposed by Hamas" as well as the "detention for more than three years of soldier Gilad Shalit."

On Thursday, France summoned the Israeli ambassador to France, Daniel Shek, to demand an immediate freeze on settlement activities and for the crossings into Gaza to be reopened to allow Gaza rebuild itself after Israel's deadly war in January.

Paris wants "an immediate freeze on settlement activities, including in east Jerusalem," the French ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.

Israel must also re-open border crossings into Gaza, blocked since the Hamas resistance movement took power in 2007, "on a regular basis to allow Gaza to rebuild itself and life to return to normal," Chevallier added.

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Australians For Palestine.(Providing a Voice.)
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