PA leaders to discuss second round of peace talks

Next session of talks to convene August 14; Palestinians condemn settlement moves despite renewed talks.

Abbas at PLO meeting in West Bank 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokma)
Abbas at PLO meeting in West Bank 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokma)
Palestinian Authority leaders are expected to meet in Ramallah Tuesday to discuss the second round of talks with Israel, scheduled for August 14 in Jerusalem.
Jamal Muhaissen, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the leaders would assess the outcome of the first session of the talks, which took place in Washington last week.
He said that the PLO and Fatah leaders would also discuss “preparations” for the second round of talks.
Muhaissen added that the Palestinians continue to stick to their demand that the negotiations with Israel be conducted on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.
He also reiterated the Palestinians’ opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders, adding that the talks should be concluded within nine months.
The Fatah official voiced skepticism regarding the prospects of achieving a deal during that period and blamed the US for failing to exert pressure on the Israeli government.
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the Israeli government does not seek real peace.
Abed Rabbo and other Palestinian officials condemned Israel’s intention to pursue construction in settlements despite the resumption of the peace talks.
He said that the negotiations were doomed to fail unless Israel stopped plans to build new homes in settlements and east Jerusalem.
Tayseer Khaled, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the PA leadership committed a “big mistake” by agreeing to return to the negotiating table without a freeze of settlement construction.
Khaled told the Palestine News Network that the international community would not exert pressure on Israel to cease settlement construction “because the Palestinians have dropped this demand, which is vital for any serious political process.”
The PA leadership, he continued, needs to reconsider its position because it bears responsibility for its mistakes.
Meanwhile, sources in Ramallah said that several Palestinian factions turned down an offer to become part of a special committee to supervise the talks with Israel.
The factions said the formation of such a committee was aimed at “bypassing” recommendations by PLO groups not to resume the peace talks with Israel unless the Palestinians’ demands are met, including a full cessation of settlement construction, Israeli acceptance of the pre-1967 lines as the basis for negotiations and the release of Palestinian prisoners.