RIYADH (AFP) - Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia on Wednesday rebuffed US calls for diplomatic overtures towards Israel and said the Jewish states settlement expansion is jeopardising efforts to revive peace talks. It is Israel that has to move seriously towards the peace process, Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali said. As we all know, Israel is continuing to take unilateral measures by changing the geographic and demographic facts on the ground, by building settlements and expanding the existing ones, he told AFP. Nugali said Israeli settlement expansion on occupied Arab land continues to impede any progress towards a lasting two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis. We have been seeing a schizophrenic Israeli policy. On one hand you talk about peace and their interest to achieve peace, he said. On the other hand they take actions against the peace process that complicate it and put it in jeopardy. The Arab peace initiative is very clear, Nugali said. That Israel should withdraw from the Arab lands and put an end to its occupation and resolve the major issues of the conflict, he said, citing the future of Palestinian refugees, water-sharing issues, and Jerusalems future status. Such issues must be resolved in order to achieve a permanent, just and lasting peace which is based on the establishment of an independent contiguous and viable Palestinian state, Nugali said. In the Arab peace process normalisation comes after achieving these goals, not before it. So we should not put the cart before the horse. His comments came amid a concerted US push towards restarting comprehensive Middle East peace negotiations involving Israel and its neighbours Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians. US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and US National Security Advisor James Jones have been meeting leaders in the region this week. Israel has rejected calls by the US administration to halt settlement activity, leading to the worst public rift between the two close allies in years. And the Palestinians have refused to restart negotiations until Israel freezes construction in the West Bank, where around 300,000 settlers now live. Mitchell called on Monday on individual Arab states to take meaningful steps towards Israel to help open peace talks, which have been on ice since Israel launched its war on Gaza in December. In addition, in Washington several legislators have drafted a letter to Saudi King Abdullah calling on him to make a dramatic gesture towards Israel similar to ground-breaking overtures that paved the wave for peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. But the Saudis maintain that those overtures have not brought progress towards creating a Palestinian state. Calls for new Arab diplomatic overtures toward Israel were also rebuffed by Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa after he met Mitchell in Cairo on Monday. It is not possible to take (normalisation) steps while the settlements are still being built, he said. In Jerusalem US National Security Advisory James Jones held talks with senior Israeli officials on Wednesday as part of a push by Washington to revive stalled Middle East peace talks. Jones, the last of three senior US officials visiting the region this week, met Defence Minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, Baraks office said without providing details on the discussions.