nabil shaath 311.
(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
The Palestinian Authority has not rejected the latest Quartet proposal for resuming peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians but wants "clarifications" about some of the elements mentioned in the plan.
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PA officials said over the weekend that while the proposal contained "encouraging elements," they want the Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – to provide further clarifications regarding the "terms of reference" for the peace process and the issue of construction in the settlements.
The Quartet proposal was announced last week after PA President Mahmoud Abbas submitted
to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, an official request for full membership in the UN.
The proposal calls for negotiations to begin within a month, for both parties to come up with concrete ideas on borders and security within 90 days and for a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians before the end of 2012.
The proposal also says that negotiations should be based on Security Council resolutions, the Road Map and the Arab peace plan of 2002, as well as a speech by US President Barack Obama before the UN General Assembly last year.
PA negotiator Nabil Shaath told reporters in Ramallah that the Palestinians want the Quartet to clarify its position with regards to the settlements and the "international terms of reference" for the peace process.
Last week PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki dismissed the Quartet plan
However, the PA leadership announced following a meeting in Ramallah
last Friday that the initiative included some "encouraging" points.
On Saturday, Shaath also said that the proposal contains encouraging elements, but stopped short of endorsing it.
He described the proposal as "good compared with previous plans because
it includes a demand for a halt of settlement construction and sets the
international terms of reference as a basis for negotiations between the
He said that the PA leadership has studied the initiative "thoroughly,"
noticing that it contains a number of "encouraging elements – especially
a timetable for presenting a detailed and tangible plan for the issues
of borders and security within three months based on all international
terms of reference such as the UN Security Council resolutions, the Road
Map, Obama's May 19, 2011 speech in which he considered the 1967
"borders" as the basis for negotiations and a solution and the Quartet's
call on both parties to avoid provocative activities like construction
in the settlements.
Shaath called on the Quartet to clarify the nature of the terms of reference mentioned in its initiative.
The PA has a positive view of the initiative but still hasn't decided whether to accept it or not, he explained.
Shaath pointed out that the clarifications were needed "particularly in
wake of the fact that while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has
accepted the Quartet initiative, his foreign minister, Avigdor
Lieberman, is opposed to it."
The PA won't return to the negotiating table with Israel without "clear
terms of reference" for the peace process and the international
community must exert pressure on Israel to accept the plan, Shaath
He stressed that the PA leadership was determined to pursue its efforts
to garner support for the statehood bid at the UN, expressing hope that
the Palestinians would be able to win the vote of nine members of the
Security Council for the statehood application.The PA said last week
that it has so far secured the backing of at least eight members.
In response to reports that Congress
has decided to block $200 million in financial aid to the Palestinians,
Shaath said it still hasn't received official word about the new
sanction. He pointed out, however, that the Palestinians were apparently
being punished even before becoming members of the UN.
Shaath said that regardless of the vote at the UN Security Council, the
PA would step up "popular and peaceful resistance against the
settlements and occupation."