Kerry and Erekat shaking hands USE THIS ONE 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority would like to see US Secretary of State John Kerry
succeed in his efforts to revive peace talks with Israel, Chief PLO negotiator
Saeb Erekat said Sunday.
Erekat said the PA was unaware of any new ideas
or proposals that Kerry would bring with him during his upcoming visit to the
“We want these efforts to succeed so that we could reach a
solution that would rid us of this unjust occupation,” Erekat said.
said that Kerry has informed the PA leadership of his intention to return to the
region, possibly during this week. Israeli officials, however, said that no date
has yet been set for his sixth trip to the region since March. A planned trip at
the end of last week was postponed when Kerry’s wife fell
“Regardless of whatever initiatives he carries, the only thing that
could make his efforts succeed is Israel’s commitment to halting settlement
construction and releasing Palestinian prisoners,” Erekat told the Palestinian
news agency Safa.
Erekat said that the PA leadership would study any new ideas
presented by Kerry during his visit.
On the eve of Kerry’s trip, the PLO
Executive Committee held a meeting in Ramallah on Saturday night and reiterated
the Palestinians’ conditions for returning to the negotiating table.
committee welcomed Kerry’s ongoing efforts, saying it would pursue its efforts
to ensure the success of his mission.
“The Palestinian leadership
believes that a cessation of all settlement activities is the main guarantee for
launching a serious political process that would achieve its goal of ending
occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state,” the PLO committee
said in a statement.
“The Palestinian leadership will go to available
international forums to resist settlements because the future of peace and the
Palestinians’ right to selfdetermination is at stake.”
The committee also
reiterated the PA’s demands for Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the
basis for a two-state solution and the release of Palestinian
Israeli officials did not seem overly concerned about
Palestinian threats to go to “available international forums” regarding the
settlements, an apparent reference to going to the International Criminal Court
in The Hague.
“This is typical Palestinian brinkmanship,” one official
“They are saying, ‘if we don’t get what we want, we will bring down
the house.’ ‘If they do that, they will force us to take action.’ These are
In a related development, Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday evening to
extend his greetings on the occasion of Ramadan.
“I hope we have the
opportunity to speak to each other even when it is not a holiday, and we can
start negotiations,” Netanyahu said. “It is important.”
He added that he
hoped Kerry’s efforts to restart the negotiations would yield
results.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.