Palestinians consider ending peace talks, turning to UN

PA official says there will be only one more Israel-PA meeting before Quartet's January 26 deadline for resuming direct negotiations; Abbas may ask UN to demand end to settlement building as alternative to talks.

PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Palestinians are considering ending the talks with Israel in Jordan and searching for other alternatives, such as asking the UN to demand an end to construction in the settlements, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Sunday.
Saturday's third session between Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho and chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, was held at the headquarters of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department in Amman.RELATED:PA to take issue of settlement building to UNSCPeace Now: 1,577 settlement tenders issued in 2011UN chief calls for end to 'occupation', settlements
Al-Hayat quoted a senior Palestinian official as saying that there would be only one more meeting between the two sides on January 25.
The official said that the planned meeting would be decisive because it would determine whether the two parties would be able to move to direct negotiations or declare the failure of the Amman talks.
Representatives of Jordan and the Quartet - the US, EU, UN and Russia - did not participate in Saturday's talks between Erekat and Molcho, the official noted.
He said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is now in the process of seeking international assistance in exerting pressure on Israel to freeze construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem.
"Settlements will be at the core of the upcoming Palestinian diplomatic offensive because they undermine the foundations of the two-state solution," the  Palestinian official said.
Another PA official in Ramallah said that the US Administration and some EU governments were putting heavy pressure on Abbas to continue the talks with Israel after January 26.
The PA says that a three-month deadline set by the Quartet for both sides to reach agreement on resuming the direct peace talks ends on January 26.
However, American and European government officials have told Abbas that the Quartet ultimatum started only when the Israelis and Palestinians began their talks in Amman two weeks ago, the official added. "Now they are telling us that the deadline expires in March because that's when the Amman talks began," he said.
But Abbas Zaki, a senior Fatah official, announced Sunday that the Palestinians wouldn't agree to hold further talks with Israel after January 26 "because the Israeli government is not serious about moving the peace process forward."
Zaki claimed that the Israeli government was afraid of achieving progress with the Palestinians because of the upcoming general elections in Israel.