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All Talk and No Action in Peace Negotiations

PA demands full construction freeze to continue negotiations, says ready for 'Israel's tricks.' Defense Minister: 'I told you so.'
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/8/2014, 2:28 PM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) sources told Walla! News Tuesday that the peace talks - which have not yet ceased, per se', but are in danger of folding - are not as dire and dramatic as the media makes it out to be.  

"It is evident that both sides don't want the peace process to collapse," a source told the daily, explaining that the media has over-hyped the drama unfolding during meetings between representatives. 

According to the source, a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria is the real sticking point; while "controversy" continues over the PA's bid to international organizations for legitimacy, terrorist releases, and extending negotiations beyond the April deadline, he hinted that solutions are being discussed. 

The construction freeze, however, is "problematic," and the source explained that "a partial freeze is unacceptable" to the PA. 

"We will not allow Minister Uri Ariel to continue to run wild and build [Jewish] homes under excuses like 'the tenders have already been approved,'" the PA official snapped. "We're ready for all of the Israeli government's tricks. If we are to continue negotiations, a complete freeze needs to be introduced by the end of the months." 

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon has declared that peace talks are dead, according to Ma'ariv, and lamented that negotiations have seen Israel blamed once again. 

"On Passover, we should free ourselves from irrelevant concepts in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Ya'alon stated Tuesday. "It became clear in recent months, unsurprisingly, that the Palestinian side is interested in getting, not in giving. They told us clearly over the past several months: 'I will not talk to you about the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, or giving up the Right of Return.""

"I am not a doomsayer; I am a realist," Ya'alon continued. "Unfortunately, on these issues, I find myself repeating over and over again, 'I told you so.' I wish it could have been different. I learned that this was so when I was the head of intelligence and now I've been shouting it for the past 20 years. Every time, the Palestinians run away [from talks] and then blame us." 

After a dramatic series of negotiations, Israel officially cancelled the fourth release of convicted Arab terrorists on Thursday and issued harsh sanctions on the PA over its unilateral diplomatic moves to apply for 15 UN-linked agencies.

In response, the PA issued a number of extreme demands against Israel, including the release of over 1,000 terrorists and a withdrawal to 1949 Armistice lines - essentially demanding concessions on all key issues before negotiations even continue.

The PA also continues to blame Israel over talks failing, claiming the release was pre-planned and that Israel merely wanted to stall for time. Ramallah has also blamed "settlement building" for the failure - especially after far-left group Peace Now ran to international media claiming that 700 building tenders had been submitted for Jerusalem housing after peace talks folded.