PA Asks Kerry to Keep Trying To Make Peace, Says 'No Tricks'
A senior source in the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed on Wednesday that the organization wanted US Secretary of State to continue the peace talks, despite PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's breach of talk conditions Tuesday by requesting to join 15 international UN institutions.
"We hope Kerry's efforts will be renewed in the coming days," Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo told AFP.
Rabbo claimed that "Kerry knows the reality. We don't want these efforts to finish." The official stated that the PA would remain in the peace talks, which are set to last until April 29.
"The Palestinian leadership respects its commitments and wants the political process to continue, but we want a real political process, without
tricks," claimed Rabbo. "We will continue our efforts with the US administration, and will do everything we can to remove all obstacles."
Despite the denial of tricks, a PA official two weeks ago revealed that UN status was being used as a "weapon" to "blackmail" Israel into releasing terrorists. PLO Official Nabil Sha'ath revealed last November that the PA is only staying in the peace talks to secure the release of all 104 promised terrorists.
In response to Abbas's breach of the peace talk conditions, Kerry cancelled a planned meeting with Abbas in Ramallah for Wednesday.
However, Kerry insisted that it was too early to tell if the peace talks were over, stating "it is completely premature tonight to draw...any final judgement about today's events and where things are." Kerry added "President Abbas has given me his word that he will continue to negotiate until the end of April."
"Israel to blame"
Rabbo held Israel solely to blame for the latest crisis in the peace talks, claiming Israel didn't release the fourth and final batch of prisoners last Saturday "without any reason or even any excuse for not doing so."
Israel at least temporarily cancelled the terrorist release, given the widespread protest to the highly unpopular move and the lack of progress in the talks. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hinted to Kerry that if the release happened it threatened toppling his government.
As noted, aside from the unpopularity of the move, the total lack of progress in talks was cited as a reason for the cancellation, given that the "gesture" was meant to encourage talks and was dependent on their progress. Abbas has brought the talks to a standstill by consistently refusing to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Rabbo himself threatened last week that if Israel did not release the terrorists, the PA would turn to the UN for international recognition this week.