John Kerry 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
Kerry is expected to return to the region next week as part of his efforts to
revive stalled peace talks, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials said
PA President Mahmoud Abbas emphasized that the Palestinians were
keen on making Kerry’s mission succeed.
This will be Kerry’s fifth trip
to Israel since March. He was originally planned to arrive last week, but
postponed because of the discussion in Washington on whether to arm the Syrian
During a meeting in Ramallah with New Zealand Foreign Minister
Murray McCully, Abbas reiterated his demand that Israel halt settlement
construction and release Palestinian prisoners to pave the way for the
resumption of the peace talks.
An Israeli official responded that “if the
Palestinians keep piling on pre-conditions, they are going to miss a historic
opportunity. It is time to move forward, Israel is ready.”
Shtayyeh, member of the PA negotiating team with Israel, said he did not expect
Kerry to bring a response from Israel that meets the minimum demands of the
Shtayyeh told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station
that Kerry would meet with Abbas to brief him on the latest developments
surrounding his efforts to resume the peace talks.
Shtayyeh said that the
PA was expecting Kerry to present his “political vision” regarding the
resumption of the peace talks during his upcoming visit and not at a later
The PA official accused the Israeli government of working to
undermine Kerry’s efforts to achieve a two-state solution.
reiterated the PA’s demands for a full cessation of settlement construction and
recognition of the two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines before
resuming the peace process with Israel.
Shtayyeh criticized the US
administration for failing to put pressure on Israel to accept the PA’s demands
and repeated threats to seek Palestinian membership of United Nations agencies
and conventions should Kerry’s efforts fail.
Wasel Abu Yusef, member of
the PLO Executive Committee, said that the Palestinians were not expecting Kerry
to bring new ideas that could pave the way for the resumption of the peace
Abu Yusef pointed out that some Israeli ministers have publicly
come out against the establishment of a Palestinian state “and this shows that
there can be no negotiations with the Israeli side.” He also noted that Israel
was refusing to stop building in the settlements and east Jerusalem.
what basis can there be peace with Israel when it pursues these policies?” he
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor dismissed as
“Palestinian propaganda” a two day conference in Beijing under the auspices of
the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
With Syria in turmoil, Turkey facing unprecedented protests, and
Egypt on the verge of an explosion on June 30 (the anniversary of the election
of President Mohamed Morsi), Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu
declared that “the Palestinian question is the core of the Middle East issue. It
bears on not only peace and security of the Middle East region, but also world
peace and stability.”
According to Ma, “regional turbulence has
exacerbated the sufferings of the Palestinian people and may further escalate if
the security and humanitarian situation of the occupied Palestinian territory is
Palmor characterized the UN committee that organized the
conference as “a UN branch that is a Palestinian propaganda platform that has
never done anything that remotely contributes to peace.”