Palestinian factions urge Arab Peace Initiative Committee not to back direct talks

23:11, July 28, 2010      

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Several Palestinian factions demanded on Wednesday the Arab Peace Initiative Committee not to endorse starting direct Palestinian-Israeli talks during its meeting on Thursday.

The groups warned the committee against conceding to U.S. pressure and giving the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) the green light to enter direct peace negotiations with Israel.

The Arab committee will hold a meeting in Cairo on Thursday to review the U.S. requests to start direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The committee, which comprises 13 Arab states, agreed in March on a U.S. proposal to start indirect talks between the PNA and Israel that would last for four months.

Meanwhile, Hamas urged the committee to withdraw the authorization it gave to the PNA to indirectly negotiate with Israel.

"The course of negotiations is a big lapse," Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman told Xinhua. "This will only yield catastrophic results for the Palestinian cause."

Meantime, Islamic Jihad movement called on the Arab committee to "make a serious decision to stop all kinds of talks with Israel. "

"It has been proved that all kinds of negotiations with Israel are futile," Gaza-based Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib told Xinhua, "Israel simply does not want to make peace."

He urged the Arab countries to work jointly to end the three- year siege imposed on Gaza and achieve the Palestinian unity instead of talking over going to direct talks with Israel.

Direct talks came to a halt in 2008 when Israel launched a major offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to curb Gaza militants from firing home-made rockets on neighboring Israeli towns.

For his part, Jamil Mezher, an official from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), demanded the committee not to surrender to the U.S. call to launch direct negotiations.

"The negotiations will lead us to a dead-end," he said in an interview with Xinhua. "The American promises will never come true. "

Earlier on Wednesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians are the ones who have the rights to decide to go to direct talks with Israel or not.

"This is a sheer Palestinian decision," Erekat said.

Erekat said the PNA is not against entering direct talks, but stressed the need to ensure the success of these negotiations.

The Palestinian official also said the key to direct talks is in the hands of Israel, adding Israel has to stop settlement construction and recognize the 1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.

Source: Xinhua


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