Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that “Israeli
intransigence” was behind the failure of the January Israeli-Palestinian talks
Israel refused during the talks to present a “clear vision”
regarding the issues of borders and security as demanded by the Quartet members
– the US, EU, UN and Russia – Abbas said.
He made his remarks in Ramallah
during a conversation with visiting Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, who is
expected to meet on Sunday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Abbas told Gilmore that the Palestinians
remain committed to a “real and serious peace process that would end Israeli
occupation” and lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on
all the territories captured in 1967, with east Jerusalem as its
In January, Israeli and Palestinian envoys met in Amman for five
rounds of preliminary talks, as set out under Quartet guidelines published in
September. The preliminary talks had been scheduled to start in October and end
on January 26. But they did not begin until this month.
have threatened to stick with the January 26 deadline and to walk away from the
talks, because they failed to achieved any tangible results.
the Obama administration urged Israelis and Palestinians to continue the Amman
“Both the Jordanian hosts and we are very much encouraging the
parties to come back to the table in relatively short order, after they’ve had a
chance to consult,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Saturday, Nimer Hammad, political adviser to Abbas, said that the Palestinian
leadership would consult with Arab countries before deciding whether the talks
Arab League ministers plan to hold a meeting early next
month to hear from the Palestinians about the outcome of the five Amman sessions
of talks, Hammad said.
He told the PA’s official Wafa news agency that
the Amman talks have “proved to the Jordanians and members of the Quartet that
the Israeli stance remains the obstacle to peace.”
The Palestinians were
under pressure from various international parties to continue with the talks, he
said. They are now expecting the US and other parties to hold Israel responsible
for the failure of the Amman discussions, Hammad added.
Minister Riad Malki called on the international community to intervene with
Israel to “salvage any chance left for resuming the peace talks.” Malki accused
Israel of destroying efforts to resume the peace talks because of its refusal to
freeze construction in the settlements and recognize the pre-1967 lines as the
future borders of a Palestinian state.
Israel has also called on the
Palestinians to continue the talks.
It has added that in light of the
delay in starting the talks, the clock for the three-month timetable by which to
hold the preliminary conversation should go from in January to April, and not
from October to January as first set out by the Quartet.
“It would indeed
be a pity if the preliminary discussions were to cease,” an Israeli official
said, adding that he hoped they could continue and reach fruition.
are committed in Israel to moving forward on the program articulated by the
Quartet,” the official said.
During the last meeting in Amman both
Israelis and Palestinians asked for clarification on the points raised in the
talks, the official said.
Clarifications will be given in future
meetings, the official said.
Israel’s envoy to the talks, Yitzhak Molcho,
presented the Israeli guidelines on the issues of borders, the official
The official added that Molcho talked about the principals by which
Israel views the West Bank.
In the final-status agreement, it wants to
see “a majority of Israeli citizens on our side and a majority of Palestinians
in the Palestinian state,” the official said.
No Amman meetings have been
scheduled for this week.
Separately on Friday, Nuland spoke with
reporters about former White House Middle East adviser Dennis Ross, who has held
recently held discussions with Molcho.
She described Ross as “a private
citizen,” but added that “he also has an association with the White House as an