Abbas Calls Arab League Meeting About Peace Talks
On December 21, Arab foreign ministers are slated to meet in Cairo to discuss the faltering peace talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA), according to a statement released by the Arab League on Thursday.
The announcement comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Israel yet again on Wednesday to try and push talks forward. Analysts have warned that Kerry's security arrangement proposals, which have been rejected by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, follow the 1967 "Allon Plan" and are a "death-trap" for Israel.
Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli told AFP that the meeting of Arab foreign ministers had been called by Abbas, who may brief ministers on the talks' status at the meeting.
Talks have been rocky at best, as in November Abbas threatened to cancel talks unless Israel cancelled tenders on 20,000 new homes in Judea and Samaria, effectively calling for a de facto building freeze even while none has been officially set as a precondition. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly conceded to the pressure, urging the plans to be shelved.
On Monday, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official, said Kerry's efforts and proposals are leading "to an impasse and to total failure." Rabbo added that Kerry "is treating our issues with a high degree of indifference," provoking a "real crisis."
However Kerry refused to accept the Palestinian position, saying on Wednesday "President Obama and I reject that cynicism."
Israelis do not appear to share Kerry's optimism. A poll last week revealed that 87.5% of Israelis believe the current peace talks will not lead to peace.
Meanwhile Nabil Shaath, another senior PLO official, said in late November that the PA was only remaining in negotiations to release the remaining 52 terrorist prisoners out of 104 that were designated to be released as part of a "gesture" to encourage talks.