The Palestinian Authority warned Sunday that Israel would be held responsible
for the failure of the peace talks, because of plans to build new housing units
in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
came on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the
Kerry is scheduled to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on
Tuesday to discuss the latest developments surrounding the peace talks with
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for Abbas, said the US
administration must send a “clear message” to Israel that its actions are
jeopardizing the peace process.
Abu Rudaineh said the latest Israeli
decision to build a fence along the border with Jordan was aimed at scuttling
Kerry’s upcoming mission in the region.
“Settlement is illegal and the
fence will be removed,” the spokesman said. “There will be no peace or stability
in the region without the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as
Kerry’s visit comes amid growing pressure on the PA
leadership from Palestinians to walk out of the peace talks in protest of
Some PLO and Fatah officials have joined the
chorus of critics, calling on Abbas to endorse a tougher stance toward recent
decisions by the Israeli government to build new housing units over the pre-1967
On Saturday night, Abbas briefed members of the Fatah Central
Committee on the peace talks with Israel.
A Fatah official described the
meeting as tense. He said some of his colleagues expressed outrage over the PA
leadership’s decision to pursue the peace talks, despite ongoing construction in
the settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
“President Abbas said
that while he understands the critics, he has no choice but to continue with the
talks,” the Fatah official said. “Abbas said that he remained committed to the
nine-month timetable set by the Americans for the talks.”
official quoted Abbas as saying that Israel’s policy of settlement construction
would destroy the peace process. The PA president said he would make it clear to
Kerry that Israel would be held responsible for the failure of the talks and the
Palestinians would be free to reassess their strategy.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a
senior Fatah official, said no progress has been achieved three months after the
resumption of the peace talks.
He said that the PA would wait for another
six months before deciding on its future moves.