Jordan: Israel Can't Have Peace and Settlements at Same Time

Comments by Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit were made to UN representative to Middle East peace talks.

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Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit said Wednesday that the construction of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contradicted the search for peace.

"Israel should realize that the continuation of the two processes is impossible," Bakhit said during a meeting with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, according to a statement from the premier's office.

Jordan's Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit speaks in the Parliament before the vote of confidence for him in Amman, March 3, 2011. Credit: Reuters

Bakhit expressed the hope that the Israeli government "will draw the correct inferences from what is going on in the Arab world and stop procrastination in resuming the peace negotiation which should come after Israel halts building of settlements and accepts the two- state solution".

He said, "It is high time for Europe to play the role of neutral mediation" between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority withdrew from U.S.-brokered direct negotiations with Israel at the end of September after the Israeli government failed to extend a moratorium on settlement construction.

The U.S. administration of President Barack Obama later said that it was unable to put pressure on Israel to freeze settlement building.

Serry said the European Union was playing "serious efforts" in this respect, but urged the United States to exert further efforts "to convince Israel to abide by the recommendations of the Middle East quartet regarding settlements," the Jordanian statement said.

On Sunday, Israel's cabinet approved a decision to build 400 housing units in West Bank settlements in response to the killing of 5 members of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar.

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