'180 degree' shift in PA attitude following talks launch

Palestinian delegation "more positive" after meetings in Washington, says report; Erekat denies report that negotiating teams scheduled to meet in West Bank beginning of next week.

Obama Peace Talks 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Obama Peace Talks 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Palestinian members of the peace talks delegation were left feeling encouraged by the launch in Washington on Thursday, Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reported on Saturday.
According to the report, PA sources said that Palestinian attendees on the Washington trip felt a significant shift in outlook regarding impending negotiations, having arrived feeling skeptical and negative.
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The sources told the newspaper that there had been a "180 degree" change in attitude, mainly due to the US pressure on Israel to extend the construction moratorium, and  the hope that negotiations will conclude within a year.
On Friday, President Shimon Peres also said newly launched peace talks with the Palestinians had a “promising start,” speaking to reporters at an economic conference in Italy.
Peres stated that the negotiations  had a “surprisingly” good beginning, considering the fact that “skepticism prevailed before.”
The president expressed his hope that the latest round of talks could lead to a peace agreement, saying that the difficulties existing in bridging the gap between the two sides are manageable and those taking part in the negotiations are serious.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated her country's support for a peace agreement in the interests of both Palestinians and Israelis in a joint-interview with Channel 2 and Palestinian media that aired Friday evening.
"We strongly support both the security of the State of Israel and the national aspirations of the Palestinian people," Clinton told the reporters.When asked by a Palestinian reporter, Clinton also rejected rumors that Washington's efforts to move forward peace talks were a ploy to gain Arab support for a military strike on Iran.
Clinton also praised the Israeli and Palestinian "vibrant and growing economies" as forces of "growth and positive energy" that would help both sides achieve peace in the face of forces of negativity advocating destruction.
Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Friday denied an earlier report which claimed Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams would be meeting in the West Bank on Monday, Israel Radio reported.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.