PA: Israel-US plans to revive peace talks 'valueless'

Palestinian officials say PA determined to proceed with UN statehood recognition bid on pre-1967 lines, despite Israel-US efforts.

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August 3, 2011 01:56
2 minute read.
Saeb Erekat

Erekat talking with hands in air 311. (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

 
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Palestinian Authority officials on Tuesday dismissed as “valueless” reports that Israel and the US have been working to develop a new framework to revive the peace process.

The officials said that the PA was determined to proceed with its plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, despite the reports about the Israeli-US effort.

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According to the reports, the effort to revive the peace negotiations on the basis of US President Barack Obama’s two-state vision is aimed at persuading the PA to abandon its statehood bid at the UN.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that his government had been working with the Obama administration, and other members of the Mideast Quartet – the US, UN, Russia and the EU – on a working document for renewed peace talks, and that the coordination with Washington was better than expected.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretarygeneral of the PLO, said that the talk about a US-Israeli package was “valueless,” and part of Netanyahu’s “ploys and political maneuvering.”

Abed Rabbo added that recent US proposals for resuming the talks were in violation of international legitimacy, and did not constitute a basis for the resumption of the peace process.

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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also dismissed talk about a US-Israeli agreement that the pre-1967 lines would be the basis for future peace talks.

Erekat said that reports that Netanyahu has accepted the agreement should be viewed as a publicity stunt.

“Why doesn’t Netanyahu declare with his own voice that he accepts the 1967 borders as the basis for a two-state solution?” Erekat asked. “Why doesn’t he announce a cessation of settlement construction?” Erekat accused Netanyahu of playing with words.

“Netanyahu’s office said that he’s prepared to discuss such a formula and not accept it, and there is a big difference between the two,” he said.

Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the PA negotiating team and a close adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the PA would go ahead with its statehood initiative, despite the talk about a US-Israeli package.

Sha’ath told foreign diplomats in Ramallah that the PLO, the PA and Fatah have all approved the plan to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September.

Sha’ath warned the US against vetoing the PA plan at the UN Security Council, saying such a move would harm the US’s image in Arab and Islamic countries.

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