Daily Israel Report

Abbas Briefs Arab Foreign Ministers on Peace Talks, UN Bid

Ahead of looming deadline, PA Chairman runs to Arab ministers over talks. But does it matter?
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/9/2014, 3:34 PM / Last Update: 4/9/2014, 6:50 PM

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Arab foreign ministers met with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday to discuss floundering US-brokered peace talks
with Israel, ahead of a looming deadline.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi accused the Israelis of dragging their feet in the talks, telling reporters: "Gaining time is a strategic objective for Israel."

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 "revealed" that 700 building tenders had been submitted for Jerusalem housing after peace talks folded. 

Arab ministers have reportedly welcomed the PA's bid for legitimacy, and are receiving a briefing from Abbas on progress with the international organizations.

It has not, however, endeared US Secretary of State John Kerry - who has nonetheless blamed Israel for talks failing. 

"Israel didn't release the Palestinian prisoners on the day they were supposed to be freed, and another day passed, and another day, and then another 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and 'poof'...that was sort of the moment," Kerry stated Tuesday, in a speech before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.