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Abbas Mubarak.(Photo by: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Abbas: Linking talks with US weapons to Israel unacceptable
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
11/22/2010
PA president meets Mubarak; says renewed negotiations will not be accepted "if there is no complete halt to settlements."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Sunday that he still hasn’t heard from the US administration about its latest proposal for resuming peace talks with Israel.

He also reiterated his refusal to return to the negotiating table unless Israel stopped building in the settlements and east Jerusalem.

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He said that he made it clear to the US administration that there should be no link between Washington’s offer to supply Israel with weapons and the issue of settlement construction.

“They [the US and Israel] have a strategic relationship and we have nothing to do with this,” Abbas said. “But linking the weapons supply to the resumption of the direct talks is completely unacceptable.”

Abbas added that he had informed the US administration that when and if the negotiations resume, they should focus on two issues: borders and security.

“We also told them that we can’t continue with the negotiations if Israel wants to resume settlement activities,” he said.

“A cessation of settlement construction must be comprehensive and must include Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian demand to stop all settlement construction was also an American and international demand, the PA president said. He pointed out that some Israelis were making the same demand.

With regards to renewed attempts to end the Fatah- Hamas crisis, Abbas accused Hamas of backtracking on previous agreements with his faction, but did not elaborate. However, he pledged to continue talking to Hamas “on all levels” to achieve unity.

Nimer Hammad, a senior adviser to Abbas, said the Palestinian position remained that Israel should halt all settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem, if it wanted the negotiations to restart.

The Palestinians won’t sign any peace accord with Israel unless all settlement construction is halted, Hammad said.

“How can we negotiate about ending the occupation while settlement construction is continuing?” he asked.

Hammad also stressed that the Palestinians still haven’t received an official word from the Americans about the US initiative to revive the peace talks.

He said that the Palestinians were receiving their information only from reports in the Israeli media.

The Palestinians “won’t repeat the mistakes of the past and won’t resort to violence,” the adviser emphasized.

Hamas, meanwhile, announced that the Palestinians would continue with the “resistance” against Israel “as long as the occupation exists on our lands.”

“Giving up one inch of land of the land of Palestine would be considered a national crime and a stab in the heart of honorable freedom fighters who were martyred in defense of Palestine,” Hamas warned.
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