Abbas insists on resuming Israeli talks
Despite heavy opposition, acting Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas claims the time is right to take the opportunity to resume talks to “achieve peace.”
The remarks came after the PA police blocked a meeting by Palestinian parties opposed to direct talks with the Tel Aviv regime, with Abbas emphasizing on what he described as the “current opportunity to achieve peace.”
On Wednesday, over 200 PA police forces broke into a Ramallah hall where Palestinians opposed to the talks were meeting and started shouting slogans in favor of Mahmoud Abbas, accusing organizers of the summit of acting against Palestinians’ interests.
The negotiations between PA and the Israelis are scheduled to be held in Washington on September 2 after a stalemate of nearly two years.
Speaking at an iftar (fast-breaking in Ramadan) event honoring religious figures and diplomatic officials in Palestine, Abbas said “We are going to Washington to start direct negotiations under the US sponsorship and in the presence of the Quartet Committee Representative and with our national will because we want peace no matter how limited are the hopes.”
However, leftist and independent parties called on Abbas not to resume talks “without preconditions,” as demanded by Israel.
Abbas, meanwhile insisted, “We as Palestinians are not in a position to impose preconditions and no party has the right to set preconditions before heading to direct negotiations.”
For resumption of peace talks, Palestinians had demanded for a complete halt to “illegal” settlement construction in areas beyond the 1967 borders, in what they hope will some day become a Palestinian state.
Negotiators said the move was essential to prove that Israel was a willing partner in talks, following the killing of more than 1,400 Gaza residents, and destruction of more than 6,000 homes by the Israeli forces during the late 2008 Gaza War.
Recently, senior Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said that the upcoming direct talks between the PA and the Israeli regime are “illegitimate” and a result of US coercion.