Palestinians: Netanyahu letter on peace a non-starter

By REUTERS
May 13, 2012 16:46

 
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RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian officials on Sunday rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's formal response to a letter from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying his positions on Palestinian grievances over frozen peace negotiations contain nothing that could revive the talks.

Netanyahu's Saturday reply to last month's letter from Abbas rejected demands to halt Jewish settlement building in occupied territories and repeated a call for an unconditional return to talks that collapsed in 2010, according to the officials.

"The content of (Netanyahu's) letter did not represent grounds for returning to negotiations," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization which reviewed the document, told Reuters.

Israel did not release details of Netanyahu's letter, which a senior aide carried to Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah. But Israeli officials said last week they did not expect Netanyahu to agree to Abbas's demand to stop settlement construction before reopening any talks.

After Netanyahu's letter was delivered, his office issued a joint statement with the Palestinians saying both sides were "committed to achieving peace."

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