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Peace parleys have already failed: PA
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 12 - 2013


Mohammed Mar'i
Saudi Gazette
RAMALLAH – A senior Palestinian official on Friday said that the peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel “have already failed.”
Nabil Sha'ath, a Palestinian negotiator and member of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Central Committee, told the Hebrew daily Ma'ariv that “the negotiations have already failed. However, we will keep our team at the (negotiating) table for the sake of the prisoners.”
Sha'ath said that the Palestinians “are committed to these talks for nine months, and we will hang on until all 104 of the prisoners have been released.”
“For the sake of the prisoners, we won't break the rules; we'll continue in the negotiations and not go to the UN. But I don't think anything can be accomplished with the present policies of the current Israeli government,” the official said.
On July, Israel agreed to a four-stage release of 104 prisoners in order to facilitate the resumption of American-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In the first stage of the release this past August, 26 Palestinians were freed. In the second stage of the deal this October, 21 prisoners were released.
Israel is still holding 4,900 Palestinian prisoners in its in 23 prisons and detention camps in Israel and in the West Bank.
Sha'ath said that if it weren't for the release of prisoners, the Palestinians would have already terminated the talks and sought statehood recognition with UN bodies. He added that “the UN declaration of us as an observer state (in 2012) was in essence declaration of a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines.
“It gives us the direct right to be full members of international organizations, the International Criminal Court and UN organizations,” Sha'ath told Ma'ariv.
“However, if there is another program — like the one for the construction of 20,000 housing units in Jewish settlements that was announced a few weeks ago — we will walk out immediately,” Sha'ath warned.
The Palestinian official's remarks come days before the US Secretary of State John Kerry returns to the Middle East to discuss Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Jennifer Psaki, the US State Department spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that during his stay in Israel, Kerry will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss a range of issues, including Iran and ongoing negotiations.
The United States and Israel differ sharply over the interim nuclear deal reached days ago between Iran and the P5+1 group of the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany to buy time for more negotiations to strike a comprehensive agreement.
Netanyahu called the interim deal a “bad” one and a “historic mistake,” saying the major powers are giving too much by easing sanctions on Iran in exchange for its curbing of some nuclear activities.
Psaki said that while in Ramallah, Kerry will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the ongoing final-status negotiations with Israel, which were restarted in late July with a view to finalizing an agreement by the end of April next year.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met more than fifteen times since then in an attempt to solve the final status issues; Jerusalem, refugees, boundaries, settlements and security. Meetings were held alternately in different locations in Jerusalem and Jericho. No breakthrough has been achieved yet.
However, Psaki told reporters that both parties have reaffirmed their commitment to the nine-month timeframe. “There are interest for both parties to continue the negotiations,” she said.


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