PA's Erekat, Israel's Livni, and US' Kerry and Indyk 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the resignation of
chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Palestinian sources told the
London-based Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Sunday that Abbas asked Erekat to
remain in his position as head of the Palestinian negotiating team with
However, if Erekat insists on his resignation, Abbas will search
for someone else to head the negotiating team, the sources said.
Shtayyeh, another member of the negotiating team, is determined not to withdraw
his resignation, according to a report in the London-based daily
The two negotiators tendered their resignation to Abbas two
weeks ago in protest against continued construction in West Bank settlements and
east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Despite the resignation, the PLO announced
last week that the peace talks with Israel would continue until the end of the
nine-month period set by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
quoted Palestinian sources in Ramallah as saying that some Palestinian officials
had proposed that Abbas begin efforts to join the United Nations and other
international agencies and organizations.
Other officials, however,
expressed fear that such a move would provide Israel with an excuse not to
release the third batch of Palestinian prisoners. The Palestinians expect Israel
to release another 50 prisoners as part of a US-sponsored agreement to relaunch
the peace talks.
The officials said that it would be better to wait until
the end of the peace talks in April 2014 before applying for membership in the
UN and other world bodies.
Sources close to Abbas warned that pulling out
of the peace talks at this stage would invite heavy pressure on the PA
leadership from the Americans and other international parties.
sources said that a last minute phone call from Kerry last week prevented Abbas
from declaring that the Palestinians were walking out of the talks in protest
against plans to build housing units in settlements and east Jerusalem
A PA official said that Abbas would urge Kerry during
their meeting this week to “step up pressure” on Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to change his policies regarding settlement construction.
official said that Abbas would make it clear to Kerry that Netanyahu’s policies
severely undermine the credibility of the PA and the entire peace
In a related development, Hamas called on the PA negotiators to
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement:
“We call on the negotiators to stop playing games and to resign effectively and