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PA Reiterates: Settlement Freeze or No Talks

After Israel accepts Quartet's plan, the PA refuses, calls Israel to halt construction in Judea and Samaria.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/3/2011, 4:46 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

While Israel on Sunday officially accepted a plan by the Quartet to restart final status talks with the Palestinian Authority, the other side was not as quick to do so.

Instead, the PA chose to reject Israel’s acceptance of the proposal and once again reiterated old statements.

“A return to negotiations requires a commitment by Israel to stop settlement construction and to recognize the 1967 borders (1949 armistice lines –ed.),” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Abu Rudeineh also called on Israel “not to mislead or evade international resolutions.” He failed to mention the ten-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria that Israel imposed in 2010. The PA chose not to take advantage of this freeze to resume negotiations.

He added, “If Israel is serious, it must commit to international resolutions, to the road map, to UN resolutions and to the Arab peace initiative, without reservation.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office said in a statement that Israel “welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President [Barack] Obama and by Prime Minister Netanyahu” in their respective speeches at the United Nations General Assembly.

The PMO statement added that even though Israel had reservations about the plan, “we will raise them at the appropriate time. We call upon the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay,” the statement said.

The Quartet published a new timetable for direct negotiations between the two parties, urging both Israel and the PA to come to the table within four weeks. During this initial meeting, the two sides are expected to express their commitment to a timetable which will allegedly bring forth a peace agreement by the end of 2012.

The Quartet statement describing its proposal followed the speech given by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly in which he officially launched the entity’s statehood bid.

The PA, meanwhile, is continuing its double talk and while it speaks of its hope to build an Arab state on all land east of the indefensible 1949 armistice line between Israel and Jordan when addressing the United Nations, the maps it uses within the PA do not at all recognize Israel’s existence, within any borders.