Abbas seeks PA backing for refusal to keep negotiating

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought the backing of dozens of senior Palestinians on Saturday for his refusal to keep negotiating with Israel without a slowdown in West Bank settlement construction.
However, the outcome of the meeting of leading members of the PLO, Abbas' Fatah movement and small Palestinian factions will likely not be the last word from the Palestinians. A deadline for a final decision was postponed twice in recent days, and a US mediator now has until Friday to try to avert a collapse of Mideast peace talks that were launched in Washington just a month ago.
Abbas was set to brief the group about US envoy George Mitchell's latest unsuccessful attempts to narrow the gaps.