Erekat: I suggested to Abbas to abandon the negotiations with Israel

Chief Palestinian negotiator claims that PA president told him he won't quit talks until fourth prisoner release at end of month.

March 9, 2014 14:24
1 minute read.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat at construction site for Route 4, March 14, 2013.

Saeb Erekat 370. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)


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Chief Palestinian negotia Saeb Erekat told Army Radio on Sunday that he urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to abandon the peace talks with Israel.

Abbas reportedly told Erekat that he wasn't willing to quit until the fourth prisoner release takes place at the end of the month.

When asked if he had seen a document which proposes that the talks continue until the end of 2014, Erekat denied that he had seen anything of the sort, despite reports in the media that he had.

"I have not seen this paper, contrary to what you say in the Israeli media," he said.

"The gaps between the two sides is still very wide," he added.

Erekat claimed that the main obstacle to the talks was the issue of Israel as a Jewish state.

"We've talked about the core issues: Jerusalem, borders, refugees, water and prisoners," he said.

The negotiator continued and said that the 'character' of Israel, whether its a Jewish state of not, has not been decided upon.

"Our demand is that Israel recognize the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders. Then the two countries will live in peace and it will end the conflict between us," he claimed.

Erekat added that the peace agreement will serve both sides, but especially the Palestinian side.

Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin responded to Erekat's comments by saying that he sees no point in releasing prisoners and  that he is opposed to it on principle.

"The prisoner release doesn't allow the advancement of negotiations and I think we should demand that the Palestinians give a clear answer before the release whether negotiations are continuing or not," added Elkin .

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