Former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath expressed doubt Thursday that
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and US Secretary of State John Kerry could succeed
in restarting diplomatic negotiations.
Shaath, who heads the foreign
relations committee of Fatah, said he was still hopeful about achieving a peace
agreement with Israel, but dismissed the ability of the leader of a party that
has only six MKs to have enough influence, as the minister in charge of
“She is very constrained with this coalition,” Shaath said
in a meeting with Israeli journalists in Ramallah organized by the One Voice
“You need a bold program by Mr. Netanyahu, a change in the
coalition or an election. I don’t see this coalition, which is run by settlers,
to have a chance. She doesn’t have a real chance.” Shaath said that if Netanyahu
would suspend settlement building and free prisoners who are in prison since
1993, there would be negotiations. He said those demands were not
pre-conditions, but commitments Israel made long ago.
“All we are saying
is don’t deepen colonization while you negotiate,” he said. “We are not asking
you to move the settlers, just not deepen [their building].”
the Palestinians would continue meanwhile to use every possible international
forum to advance the Palestinian cause. He called US Secretary of State John
Kerry a friend, but expressed skepticism about the support he had in
“The man is serious and wants to get something done,” Shaath
said. “But international politics do not move by how nice and intelligent the
There needs to be an American commitment that peace is very
important in this world, and America will sit at the table to make sure that it
Shaath mocked Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, repeatedly
calling him “His Majesty.” He said Danon’s statements about the government not
intending to advance the peace process would harm Palestinian morale.
I was Netanyahu I would have fired him,” Shaath said. “He is causing enough harm
to get frustrating poll results. What do you expect the Palestinian people to
feel when they read junk like this?”
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