Abbas sets preconditions for new Netanyahu government to return to peace talks

In addition to the release of prisoners and an end to West Bank building, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants a guarantee that talks will last for at least a year.

May 15, 2015 12:34
1 minute read.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday set out preconditions to restarting the peace talks with Israel.

According to Israel Radio on Friday, Abbas called for the halt of all settlement construction in the West Bank and for the immediate release of Palestinians that were imprisoned before the Oslo Accords who were supposed to be released in 2014.

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The Palestinian leader demanded that the talks be held for a minimum of a year, during which the two sides will agree on a specific timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank that is to be completed by 2017.

In a speech given Thursday before the new Israeli government was sworn in, Abbas declared that the previous government was not a partner for peace and had purposely hampered the peace efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry. If the new government will continue on the path of the previous government, the Palestinians will continue to internationalize the conflict, he threatened.

This statement came on the heels of US President Barack Obama's speech at Camp David on Thursday where he said a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians "seems distant now."

Obama congratulated Netanyahu on the formation of his new government but also noted that some of its ministers are openly opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

In December 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to moderate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but to no avail. A nail was put in the coffin after a Palestinian faction became a member of the International Criminal Court in The Hague on April 1.

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