Interview: Palestinians eye positive outcome from direct talks with Israel

08:18, September 02, 2010      

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The Palestinian National Authority expected a positive outcome from this week's talks with Israel and called on the Israelis to refrain from taking steps that could jeopardize the talks, a Palestinian official said.

The Palestinian leadership hoped the direct talks could lead to "a positive outcome" for their people and negotiation was the "only strategic option" for the Palestinians, Amal Jadou, deputy chief of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mission to the United States, told Xinhua on the eve of the resumption of direct talks between the PLO-led Palestinian National Authority and the Israeli government.

Under pressure from the Obama administration, Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, after a 20-month-long stalemate with Israel, has agreed to participate in the direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Washington.

The Obama administration expects the two sides, through the direct talks, to solve all the final status issues, including political status of Jerusalem, right to return for Palestinian refugees, the border of a Palestinian state, and Israel's security within one year.

"The initiation of the direct talks could bring hope for us that a solution can be reached. Our priority is to end the Israeli occupation of our people and to establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Jadou said, but adding that the top priority was to make Israel freeze the Jewish settlement activities.

The settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have posed "a real threat" to the two-state solution, and will "kill" the peace process, Jadou warned.

At least 450,000 Israelis live in more than 100 Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government is expected to lift the 10-month moratorium of Jewish settlement activities when it expires on September 26, while the Palestinian Authority has warned that any resumption of settlement activities would derail the peace process.

According to Jadou, the peace process will be ensured only by "good faith" from both sides and also, from the United States. "We are at a crucial time for making decisions. We are expecting the Israeli side will take courageous steps, so that we can reach a settlement."

"We hope the two sides come to the negotiation table with good faith and refrain from taking any steps that will jeopardize these talks, and we also expect the United States to work hard and play a fair and active role in the negotiations so that we can reach a positive outcome," she said.

The outcome means, according to Jadou, a Palestinian state can be established, the occupation the Palestinian people have been enduring for a very long time will come to an end, and the Palestinian people will be able to live like any other nation in the world: "free, in dignity, and contribute to the advancement of the whole world."

The Palestinian side wants to reach the settlement based on the two-state solution as soon as possible, "the sooner the better for us... But we are not interested in the process for the sake of the process. We want the process to lead to an outcome," Jadou said.

Source: Xinhua


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