Arab leaders put ball in US court on peace talks

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Arab leaders put ball in US court on peace talks

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Arab countries are giving Washington a month to break the deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, stalled after Israel resumed settlement building.

As the Arab League meets in Libya, the future of the talks hangs by a thread.

The head of the organisation says leaders are not yet ready to recommend abandoning the negotiations. But neither are they calling for them to restart.

“The conditions aren’t fulfilled for a resumption, because the current conditions are negative”, said the Secretary-General Arm Moussa. He accused the Israelis of not co-operating.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is expected to win full backing from the Arab League for refusing to continue the talks begun five weeks ago in Washington.

The Palestinians have told the Americans that Israel must fully stop settlement activities for the peace process to succeed.

The Israelis have accused the Palestinians of adding pre-conditions at the start of the talks.

About half a million Israelis are now thought to live in about 100 settlements in the West Bank.

In a separate development Israel is to buy around 20 fighter jets from the US, in a deal worth nearly two billion euros. The radar-evading Lockheed is described as the world’s most advanced combat plane.