PA: Stop the 'Settlements' Or We're Not Talking
The Palestinian Authority continues to insist that Israel stop construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in order to allow peace talks to continue.
A senior PA official, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP on Tuesday that the PA would refuse to continue the talks as long as “Jewish settlement” continues.
"The Israeli side is determined to continue its settlement and we cannot continue negotiations under these unprecedented settlement attacks," the official told the news agency.
"The Palestinian-Israeli negotiations broke down during the session on Tuesday night," the official said, referring to a meeting between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is heading the Israeli negotiating team, Attorney Yitzchak Molcho, and PA negotiator Saeb Erekat.
The comments came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who pushed the two sides to resume peace talks in July, arrived in Israel on Tuesday evening to advance the talks.
Kerry has meetings scheduled Wednesday with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
While the content of the talks remains secret, leaks to the media suggest that the PA continues to insist on the 1949-1967 armistice line as the border of a Palestinian state.
Kerry set a timetable of nine months for the talks but, according to some reports, very little progress has been made in the talks so far and there is a wide rift between the positions of the two sides.
The PA is angry about recent Israeli announcements of new construction, despite the fact that it was informed in advance that Israel will continue to build as talks continue. The areas in which Israel plans to build are areas that even the PA has accepted will be part of Israel in a future deal.
Netanyahu has rejected the PA’s contention that recent decisions on construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria contravene agreements reached at the outset of negotiations.
Netanyahu said that the PA knew full well when the talks began that Israel accepts no limitations on construction beyond the “Green Line,” which demarcates Israel's 1949 armistice borders. He accused the PA of creating “an artificial crisis” over the construction.