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Arab League expected to demand settlement freeze before peace talks continue

Israelis-Palestinian peace talks remain stalled over Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Arab League is debating the matter today and tomorrow.

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Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League (l.) Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian president (c.) and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (l.) talk before starting the Arab League follow-up committee to discuss the progress of Arab-Israeli negotiations, in Sirte, Libya, Oct. 8.

Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

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Despite efforts to resolve a dispute on West Bank settlements before the Arab League meeting today and Saturday in Libya, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process inaugurated last month by President Barack Obama appears stalled.

The 22-member association is expected by observers to back Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's demand for a freeze on Israeli building in the West Bank before reengaging Israel in peace talks, though it won't close the door to negotiations entirely.

The Arab League "won't say 'We're done,' they'll say that, 'We support the Palestinian decision,' " says Palestinian Legislative Council member Hanan Ashrawi. "It's not walking away, it's saying the Israelis are destroying the substance of peace."

Palestinian spokesmen said they expect a final statement from the Arab League on Saturday.

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