PA blames construction plans in W. Bank, east J’lem for any failure of peace talks

Abbas spokesman: Plans for Jordan border fence aimed at scuttling Kerry’s upcoming mission in the region.

By
November 3, 2013 20:45
2 minute read.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a PLO meeting in Ramallah, October 2, 2013.

Abbas looking unhappy 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

The Palestinian Authority warned Sunday that Israel would be held responsible for the failure of the peace talks, because of plans to build new housing units in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

The warning came on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the region.

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Kerry is scheduled to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to discuss the latest developments surrounding the peace talks with Israel.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for Abbas, said the US administration must send a “clear message” to Israel that its actions are jeopardizing the peace process.

Abu Rudaineh said the latest Israeli decision to build a fence along the border with Jordan was aimed at scuttling Kerry’s upcoming mission in the region.

“Settlement is illegal and the fence will be removed,” the spokesman said. “There will be no peace or stability in the region without the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Kerry’s visit comes amid growing pressure on the PA leadership from Palestinians to walk out of the peace talks in protest of settlement construction.

Some PLO and Fatah officials have joined the chorus of critics, calling on Abbas to endorse a tougher stance toward recent decisions by the Israeli government to build new housing units over the pre-1967 lines.

On Saturday night, Abbas briefed members of the Fatah Central Committee on the peace talks with Israel.

A Fatah official described the meeting as tense. He said some of his colleagues expressed outrage over the PA leadership’s decision to pursue the peace talks, despite ongoing construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

“President Abbas said that while he understands the critics, he has no choice but to continue with the talks,” the Fatah official said. “Abbas said that he remained committed to the nine-month timetable set by the Americans for the talks.”

Another Fatah official quoted Abbas as saying that Israel’s policy of settlement construction would destroy the peace process. The PA president said he would make it clear to Kerry that Israel would be held responsible for the failure of the talks and the Palestinians would be free to reassess their strategy.

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official, said no progress has been achieved three months after the resumption of the peace talks.

He said that the PA would wait for another six months before deciding on its future moves.


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