PLO Member Parties: Stop Talking with Israel
Palestinian Liberation Organization member parties on Sunday urged its leaders to halt talks with Israel until it freezes construction in Judea and Samaria, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
According to the report, in a statement released Sunday the 12 parties called on the PLO Executive Committee to end the exploratory talks in Amman, after a Quartet deadline to submit positions on borders and security passed on Thursday.
The PLO factions said their leaders should not re-enter negotiations to protest what they termed “Israel’s continuing settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.”
Ma’an said the statement was signed by Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, and the Palestinian National Initiative, among others. The statement urged the international community to provide protection to PA Arabs against what was describes as “Israel’s violations of international law.”
Wednesday marked the final in a series of “exploratory” meetings in Jordan between Israeli envoy Yitzchak Molcho and the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. The two made little headway in their fifth meeting, the last before the January 26 deadline set by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations to break the impasse and relaunch direct talks for a final status agreement between the two sides.
Prior to the last meeting, the PLO announced it would refuse to continue talks with Israel after the deadline.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he hopes Palestinian Authority officials come to their senses and resume peace negotiations.
In remarks at the beginning of the weekly meeting with Cabinet ministers on Sunday, Netanyahu commented, "As of now, according to what has happened in recent days, when the Palestinians refused to even discuss with us the State of Israel's security needs, the signs are not particularly good.
"But I hope that they will come around and continue the talks so that we might advance toward real negotiations," he said, noting that United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will be arriving in the region shortly.
"I will sit with him and discuss... our hope that the Palestinians will stay in the talks in order to reach, in the end, concrete negotiations between us on a peace agreement," Netanyahu said.
The PLO cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss its next move and to prepare for a meeting with the Arab League follow-up committee on Feb. 4.