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PA's 4 Preconditions for Talks with Israel Include Support at UN

The Palestinian Authority has presented the Quartet with four pre-conditions without which it refuses to resume talks with Israel.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 6/26/2011, 1:09 AM / Last Update: 6/26/2011, 12:50 AM

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The Palestinian Authority has presented the Quartet of peacekeeping nations (the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) with four pre-condition for resuming talks with Israel.

Palestine Liberation Organization chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Saudi newspaper Al-Watan in an interview Friday the list of demands included the following:

1. A complete halt to all Israeli construction in areas claimed by the PA for the formation of its country. This includes something as simple as adding a balcony to an apartment in the 40-year-old Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol or French Hill, for example.

2. Agreement that the 1949 Armistice lines with mutually-agreed land swaps are the basis for talks.

3. European Union support for PA reconciliation efforts between the Fatah faction and the Hamas terrorist organization. This point completely contravenes conditions by the Quartet that freezes all funding and recognition of any PA government that includes Hamas until the terrorist group is willing to formally acknowledge Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and uphold agreements made by prior PA governments.

4. EU support for a PA declaration of statehood in the U.N., and an acknowledgment that such a declaration does not present any contradiction to negotiations with Israel.

Erekat was adamant that only a total halt to Jewish construction in pre-1967 areas of Israel, including Jerusalem, would inspire the PA to resume negotiations.

"The Palestinian stance is very clear and precisely defined," he said. "Negotiations over a two-state solution based on 1967 borders and a complete halt to Israel's settlement activities, particularly in Jerusalem."

According to the report, Quartet envoys are scheduled to meet next Friday to discuss relaunching the talks between Israel and the PA.

Israel froze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria at the behest of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for 10 months in the hopes of resuming negotiations, after intense pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama. However, Abbas did not come to the negotiating table until the moratorium was nearly over.

The White House hosted a summit at Annapolis at which Abbas, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met together with President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, but little was accomplished. Post-Annapolis, Abbas and Netanyahu met again, but the PA chairman demanded that Israel extend the construction ban in order to continued the talks, and to include Jerusalem in the moratorium as well.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused.