(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo
on Saturday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on the latest US efforts to
resume peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
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and the Egyptians said over the weekend that they still haven’t received the
full details of a US proposal to provide Israel with a package of incentives in
return for freezing settlement construction in the West Bank for an additional
Abbas was quoted by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat
as saying that there should be no linkage between freezing settlement
construction and supplying Israel with weapons. He also complained that the US
Administration still hasn’t come up with new ideas to revive the peace
The paper quoted a senior PA official as saying that US envoy
David Hale, who met with Abbas in Ramallah last week, informed the Palestinian
leadership that the US Administration and Israel have yet to agree on a formula
for freezing settlement construction.
“We understand from Hale that all
what has been published so far [about an agreement between Israel and the US] is
nothing but Israeli leaks,” the official said. “President Abbas made it clear
that the Palestinians can’t accept any agreement that excludes
On the eve of Abbas’s talks with Mubarak, Chief PLO
negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians won’t accept any “partial”
freeze of settlement construction. Erekat said that the PA still hasn’t received
any official word from the Americans about the latest US proposal for resuming
the peace talks.
Erekat said that Abbas and Arab League Secretary-General
Amr Moussa agreed to convene the Arab League foreign ministers to discuss the
future of the peace process once the Americans provide the Palestinians with
details of the proposal.
Erekat added that the Palestinians would return
to the negotiating table only when Israel halts settlement construction also in
Jerusalem. He too rejected any attempt to create a link between settlement
construction and the supply of US weapons to Israel.
“The settlements are
a violation of the international law and those who violate the law should not be
rewarded,” Erekat added. “We want a full and indefinite cessation of settlement
construction. Settlement construction should be halted until the final-status
talks on all core issues end.”