The prospect of Palestinian-Israeli “proximity talks” in the Middle East has hit another expected bump: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not attend any such talks unless Israel halts settlement construction.

Abbas’ statement was made in the Libyan city of Sirte during an Arab League meeting of regional leaders who condemned Israeli settlement building and said the illegal expansion of settlers onto Palestinian land would end efforts to revive any Middle East peace process.

This comes after Israel announced a 1,600-home settlement expansion even as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country earlier this month, a move that roughed up relations between the two staunch allies. –JCL

The BBC:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ruled out attending indirect “proximity talks” with Israel unless it halts the construction of settlements.

Mr Abbas told an Arab League summit he would not resume negotiations as long as Israel maintained the “status quo” in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

He was seeking support after Israel appeared to refuse to back down in a row with the US over East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli tanks have withdrawn from Gaza after an overnight incursion.

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