The EU’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton has said a Palestinian state is still achievable by September, despite an impasse in peace talks.
But, Ashton’s Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, stressed the real obstacle to a regional settlement was Iran.
‘‘Please first of all bring some solution, a real solution to the Iranian issue and our readiness to take risks regarding the Palestinian issue will be much, much higher,’‘ the Israeli Foreign Minister said.
Ashton’s visit to Israel aims to galvanise both sides to restart negotiations, but that looks unlikely anytime soon after new settlement construction was approved.
Mustapha Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council said: ‘‘It’s the proof that the Israeli government does not want a solution, it is the proof that nothing will change unless there is serious pressure on Israel including sanctions, actions against this Israeli government.’‘
The approval by Israeli authorities allows for 120 new apartments in East Jerusalem, on land captured by Israel in 1967.
The Palestinians say they will not resume talks until there is a complete building freeze.