Arab League supports Abbas's decision to halt talks

Foreign ministers meeting in Libya back PA president's decision to stop negotiations as long as Israeli building in settlements continues.

Abbas and Moussa 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Abbas and Moussa 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Arab League announced on Friday that it supports Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to stop peace talks with Israel following Israel's refusal to halt building in West Bank settlements, Reuters reported.
The Arab League was meeting in Libya to discuss the peace talks which began early in September but have stalled following Israel's decision not to extend a moratorium on settlement building which ended after 10 months on September 26. League representatives added that they are hopeful the US will continue to pressure Israel to agree to a renewal of the construction freeze.
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Earlier on Friday, AFP quoted a diplomat at the Arab League meeting as saying that Arab countries planned to give the US one month to find a compromise which could save the peace talks.
Other diplomats attending the meetings said that some Arab countries were proposing that Abbas return to indirect negotiations to avoid a total breakdown of Mideast peace talks.
Arab League head Amr Moussa stated that Israel's negative stance was responsible for stalling negotiations. He added that the Arab Foreign ministers at the meeting did not intend to tell Abbas what to do. He said that they would attempt to find alternative suggestions to the current peace process which is failing to "bear fruit."
Abbas arrived in Libya on Thursday to seek Arab League backing for his decision to quit direct talks with Israel until the settlement construction moratorium is renewed, amid no signs that the US and Israel have a formula in hand to break the impasse.
Although Ambassador to the US Michael Oren on Thursday was the first Israeli or American official to acknowledge that Washington had offered Jerusalem inducements to extend the freeze, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – in public statements he made later in the day – sounded more like someone trying to shift the blame for failure onto the other side, rather than someone on the verge of announcing a breakthrough.
“We honored the government decision and took upon ourselves a commitment to the international community and the US to start the peace talks,” Netanyahu said of the 10- month moratorium that ended nearly two weeks ago.
“The Palestinians waited over nine months and, immediately at the onset of the talks, set a precondition even though they had promised that there would be no preconditions.”
The prime minister said that just as his government honored its commitment regarding the settlement moratorium, “we very much hope that the Palestinians will stay in the peace talks.”
Meanwhile,  Abbas has returned to his old habit of threatening to resign if Israel does not comply with his demands, making his latest threat during a meeting in Jordan on Wednesday night with members of the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s parliament- in-exile.
Khaled Musmar, a PLO official, said that Abbas hinted during the meeting that he would resign from his post if the peace talks with Israel failed.

Associated Press and JPOST.COM Staff contributed to this report.