Fatah warns US not to pressure PA to resume talks

PA calls for pressure on Israel to accept Palestinian preconditions as Kerry set to return to the region next week.

Abbas and Erekat 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Tarek Mostafa)
Abbas and Erekat 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Tarek Mostafa)
The Fatah leadership warned the US administration on Wednesday against exerting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to resume peace talks unconditionally with Israel.
The warning came as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to return to the region next week to continue his efforts to revive the stalled peace process.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday briefed members of the Fatah Central Committee on the latest developments surrounding Kerry’s efforts.
Following the meeting, the committee affirmed its opposition to “all forms of pressure on [Abbas] and the Palestinian leadership.”
A Fatah official who attended the meeting said that Abbas complained that the US administration has been putting heavy pressure on him to return to the talks with Israel unconditionally.
The committee vowed its full and firm support for Abbas’s demand for a cessation of settlement construction, the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and Israeli recognition of the two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, before resuming the peace process.
The Fatah leaders called on Kerry to exert pressure on Israel to “fulfill its obligations” towards agreements signed with the Palestinians in order to resume a “meaningful” peace process.
They also condemned recent statements by Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, who said that the idea of creating a Palestinian state has come to a dead end.
The Fatah leaders warned that such positions could “completely close the door in the face of American efforts to resume the peace talks.”
The Fatah leaders said that in the wake of the Israeli government’s policies and actions, the Palestinians “possess all legitimate options in the context of our right to resist the Israeli occupation and get rid of it forever.”
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed on Wednesday that the strategy of the Israeli government was based on “destroying the two-state solution.”
Erekat was speaking in Jericho during a meeting with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
He also called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its policies and to “stop relating to the Israeli government as if it were above the law.”