RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement insisted on Tuesday that direct peace talks with Israel hinge on a complete halt to Jewish settlement building.
"Negotiations are a means and the objective is to end the Israeli occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state," said Jibril Rajub, secretary of Fatah's Central Committee.
"And if settlement building is completely frozen and a timetable for the talks is set in line with clear and specified constants, we should not have a problem in negotiations with Israel."
But Rajub said Israel "does not recognise Palestinian rights."
"And it does not recognise international legitimacy. The international community therefore should reconsider the legitimacy of Israel, particularly if it continues to ignore Palestinian rights," he said.