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Palestinian official urges Obama to push for peace

(AP) / 7 February 2013

A senior Palestinian official is urging President Barack Obama to help restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a day after the White House said Obama would not announce any new peace initiatives on his upcoming trip to the region.

Jibril Rajoub, a former Palestinian security chief and prominent West Bank official, told Israel’s Army Radio Thursday the U.S. is the only one that can “build a bridge of trust” between the sides. He said he hopes Obama’s visit will help jumpstart talks.

The U.S. leader sought to restart peace talks in 2011, but the effort collapsed within weeks. Palestinians refuse to negotiate until Israel stops building settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Netanyahu has refused to halt settlement construction, saying there should be no preconditions for talks.

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