EU's Ashton calls for Middle East talks

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EU's Ashton calls for Middle East talks

EU's Ashton calls for Middle East talks
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EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has urged Israeli and Palestinians to reopen peace talks amid rising tensions between the two sides.

Ashton met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as fresh violence broke out in the West Bank.

Palestinians are angry at Israel’s settlement building in East Jerusalem, but Lieberman said he wanted a peaceful solution to the row.

‘‘In Israel everybody wants peace,’‘ he said. ‘‘There is only a discussion about what’s the best way to achieve this peace.’‘

The EU’s Ashton described the settlements as “illegal” earlier this week and urged both sides to return to the negotiating table.

“The sooner we get the talks, the better,” she said.

Observers say a deal must be brokered soon to halt Palestinian militants from declaring another intifada, the Arabic word for ‘rebellion’.

Elsewhere in Gaza, the Islamist group Hamas declared a ‘Day of Rage.’

Thousands of protesters hit the streets to rally against the reopening of a synagogue near to the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the continued policy over Israeli settlements.

Demonstrations also took place in neighbouring Syria, where marches were held to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.