Palestinians hope for settlement curb if peace talks resume
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Palestinians hope for settlement curb if peace talks resume

In Jordan, Erekat stops short of making building freeze a condition for negotiations with Israel

Palestinian chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat (R) is greeted by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi upon his arrival at the Foreign Ministry in the Jordanian capital Amman on May 14, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Khalil MAZRAAWI)
Palestinian chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat (R) is greeted by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi upon his arrival at the Foreign Ministry in the Jordanian capital Amman on May 14, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Khalil MAZRAAWI)

AMMAN, Jordan — A senior Palestinian official said he “hopes” Israel will halt settlement construction if US-led peace talks resume, but stopped short of making it a condition.

Saeb Erekat spoke Sunday in Jordan after meeting with the foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt, ahead of a Mideast trip next week by US President Donald Trump.

Trump says he wants to broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal.

In recent years, the Palestinians refused to resume talks without a settlement curb.

Asked about linking negotiations to a settlement freeze, Erekat said, “No one stands to lose more in the absence of peace and negotiations” than Palestinians.

In 2009 and 2010, Israel, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, instituted a 10-month settlement freeze that Palestinian Authority President Mahmmoud Abbas had demanded.

At that time, talks broke down with the Palestinians arguing that the construction halt was merely partial as it did not include a suspension on building in East Jerusalem.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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