PLO Official Criticizes US Role in Negotiations
A senior PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) official accused Israel on Thursday of preventing the United States from taking part in peace talks, two days after a new round of meetings.
The PLO is the largest and dominant faction within the Palestinian Authority, headed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"The American side has not participated in any meetings until now between Israel (and the PA)," PLO secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio.
"Washington said it would be a direct partner in talks but so far this hasn't happened because of Israel's insistence on keeping the US away from meetings," he said.
"If the US can't impose its presence, then it will not have any direct influence on achieving progress in negotiations," Abed Rabbo added.
Israeli and PA negotiators held two separate meetings on Tuesday in the latest round of US-backed talks between the two sides.
Abed Rabbo also slammed Israeli building plans in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, adding his voice to a growing number of PA/PLO officials, who have criticized recent building plans despite the announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry - who has been the main force behind the restarted negotiations - that both he and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had been made aware of the building plans prior to the resumption of talks.
The housing units in question were being built in areas that the PA has previously agreed would remain Israeli in any future "peace deal," and were being built in areas that would not effect what Kerry termed "the peace map."
Abed Rabbo is the latest PA-affiliated official to speak out about ongoing talks, in spite of an agreement between the parties not to reveal details of negotiations until their conclusion.
Yesterday, chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed that the US had guaranteed the PA's preconditions prior to the start of talks.