Erekat: Israel, Palestinians not conducting secret peace talks

Chief PLO negotiator says he does not expect long-frozen negotiation to resume in the near future.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (photo credit: REUTERS)
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday that there were no secret or public negotiations taking place between the Palestinians and Israel, and he did not expect the peace talks to resume in the near future.
His remarks came in response to reports in some Arab media outlets suggesting that Israel and the PA were secretly conducting peace talks. Such negotiations have been frozen since April 2014.
Erekat told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds that the Israeli government’s recent decisions, especially regarding settlement construction, “indicate that it is moving ahead toward destroying the map of Palestine.”
There was no chance of resuming the peace talks in the near future in wake of the Israeli government’s “settlement plans” in the West Bank and Jerusalem, moving the offices of the Culture and Sport Ministry to east Jerusalem and applying Israeli laws to settlements, Erekat said.
He added that he did not know what France’s timetable was to present a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Security Council next month.
Erekat denounced statements by Israeli politicians who spoke of their desire to apply Israeli law to settlements in the West Bank.
Any Israeli government action on such statements would be “war crime” and a “flagrant violation of international law,” Erekat said.
The PA Foreign Ministry condemned the possibly of any such plans, saying such a move would “kill” the two-state solution.
The ministry warned that the move would pave the way for annexing large parts of the West Bank to Israel.
“We strongly condemn this move and consider it a grave escalation of the situation,” the ministry said. “It’s also a serious breach of international law.”
To mark the 48th anniversary of the Six Day War, Erekat issued a statement in which he accused the Israeli government of continuing to deny Palestinian rights for independence and self-determination.
“We will continue to halt any attempts by Israel to erase and bury Palestinian national identity by prolonging its occupation of our land,” he said. “The world is accountable for the ongoing crimes committed against our people.”