RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday met with a delegation from the Jewish reform movement in the United States, where he discussed the peace process and Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory as an impediment to the process.
Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that the delegation, from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), met with Abbas at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.
“Israel’s persistence in settlement construction as well as its policy of killing (Palestinians), home demolitions, detentions and raids obstructs initiating a serious peace process leading to an end to the Israeli occupation,” Abbas told the delegation.
According to Wafa, Abbas went on to affirm the PA leadership’s commitment to achieving a “comprehensive and just peace based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Abbas stressed that the end goal of the peace process would be establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
While stating their support for the two-state solution, the URJ delegation slammed Israeli settlement construction as an obstacle to the peace process, Wafa reported.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.