The Maan News Agency quoted Reuters stating that the Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, said that he believes that it is impossible to reach an agreement with Israel this year.

He added that talks on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state did not show any progress since the Annapolis Summit in Maryland –USA in November 2007. During the summit, the United States said that it hopes an agreement would be reached before the US President George Bush leaves office in January 2009.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fayyad said that Israel is ongoing with the construction of settlements in the West Bank and described this act as another obstacle which limits any progress in the peace talks.

“I have a strong feeling, am nearly certain, no deal will be reached this year”, Fayyad stated.

He added that even if a deal is reached, the Palestinians will not accept the ongoing construction of settlements.

The statements of Fayyad confirm last week’s statement of Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Ahmad Qourea’, who said that reaching an agreement in 2008 “requires a miracle”.

Last month, Israel was angered by Dr. Salaam Fayyad when he sent a letter to the European Union accusing Israel of neglecting the Palestinian rights by continuing the construction of settlements in the West Bank and rejecting to remove the roadblocks which limit any economical development.

The Israeli position on settlements is that it intends to keep its large settlement blocks in the West Bank under any peace deal with the Palestinians and that its roadblocks are “meant to bar any Palestinian attacks against Israel”.   

On the ground, the vast majority of roadblocks in the West Bank are between different Palestinians cities and villages, and do not even lead to Israel .