Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, claimed on Sunday that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank will not cause any obstruction to a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians, and added that Gaza Disengagement proved that settlements are not an obstacle.She said that settlements would not obstruct the creation of an independent Palestinian State.

Livni claimed that Israel is committed to its obligations to the Road Map Peace Plan, and is not constructing any new settlements in the West Bank.

It is worth mentioning that under the Road Map Plan, Israel will not build new settlements but will retain its large settlement blocks such as Ariel settlement block in the northern part of the West Bank, Maali Adumim east of Jerusalem and Kfar Azion settlement bloc  in the southern part of the West Bank.

The statements of Livni came during a meeting with the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. After her meeting with Rice, Livni met with the Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Ahmad Qorea’.

Rice said that she believes a peace deal between the Palestinian Authority and Israel could be achieved before the end of this year.

In a press conference with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, Rice said that West Bank settlements are problematic especially to the efforts to establish a Palestinian State. 

She claimed that she is practicing pressure on Israel on order to ease the restriction of movement imposed on the Palestinians in the West Bank. yet she said that the Palestinian Authority “should act more in implementing the Israeli security demands”.