Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
appears to be backing away from his longstanding demand for Israel
to halt West Bank settlement construction before peace talks resume.
Abbas told European diplomats Tuesday that he will resume talks after the UN votes on a Palestinian
request for "nonmember state" status. A vote is expected in November.
In light of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
decision to hold early elections,
the prospect of Israeli politics entering the campaign season frenzy may delay all diplomatic activity, including peace talks.
Abbas made no mention of a settlement freeze, and officials said that he believes a freeze would no longer be necessary if he receives UN recognition of a state that includes all of the West Bank.
In a meeting held in Ramallah, Abbas added that "alongside gaining membership, we are willing to resume negotiations with Israel and discuss all the issues that concern ending the conlict."
Peace talks have been frozen for nearly four years, in large part due to the Palestinian demand for a settlement freeze and Israel's refusal to accept it.
While UN recognition is largely symbolic, the Palestinians believe it will empower them in future negotiations.
Elior Levy contributed to this report
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