Palestinians: Israel to blame for no progress toward peace

July 1, 2013 at 6:27 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's Mideast peace mission failed and Israel is to blame, senior Palestinian officials said.

"There are obligations that Israel should fulfill -- halting settlement construction, accepting the principle of the two-state solution and releasing prisoners imprisoned before the end of 1994," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters in Ramallah Sunday after Kerry's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"Israel is placing 930 obstacles in the face of John Kerry," Erekat said in reference to Israeli plans for housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.

Kerry left Israel on Sunday, saying "real progress" had been made between the two sides during his visit.

Two senior Fatah officials, Azam al-Ahmed and Mahmoud al-Aloul, declared the Israeli government responsible for what they called Kerry's failure, the newspaper paper said.

"This is a government of settlers," al-Ahmed said. "This government does not want to establish a Palestinian state, as some of its ministers have openly stated."

Another Palestinian official, identified as Tayseer Khaled, said: "Israel wants us to return to the negotiating table unconditionally. This is impossible while Israel continues to steal our land and displace our people."

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