British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Monday that Israeli settlement construction is "vandalism." Speaking at a press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Clegg went on to accuse Israel of undermining attempts to broker a Middle East peace deal by continued settlement construction.
"Once you've placed physical facts on the ground that makes it impossible to deliver something that everyone has for years agreed is the ultimate destination... it is an act of deliberate vandalism to the basic premise on which negotiations have taken place for years and years and years," Clegg said, referring to settlement construction.
Abbas was meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy as part of the Palestinian leaders three country European tour, which takes him from London to Berlin to Moscow this week.
He is expected to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials on Tuesday and Wednesday, and with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Thursday. According to a statement from Abbas office, the objective of the trip is for the Palestinian leader to consult with foreign leaders on the exploratory talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators that have been taking place in Amman.
Abbas tour comes as a Jan. 26 Quartet deadline for the resumption of peace talks looms nearer, and following remarks by the Palestinian president concerning measures the Palestinians would take against Israel if this most recent attempt to revive negotiations fails.
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