Saeb Erekat
Photo: Ronen Boidek
Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: AFP

PA official: Netanyahu procrastinating

Palestinian optimism about Washington peace talks dimming as Chief PA Negotiator Saeb Erekat accuses PM Netanyahu of applying stall tactics. 'Peace in the West Bank will demand Israel tear down settlements,' he says

Is the Palestinian's optimism about the Washington peace talks dimming? Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to apply stall tactics to negotiations, and that all of his suggestions thus far have been rejected by the PA.


Erekat told Jordan's al-Dustour Newspaper that the Israeli prime minister suggested forming 12 committees dedicated to the various issues of the peace process, but his suggestion was rejected.


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The chief Palestinian negotiator said that Netanyahu's "procrastination" has effectively made the peace talks grind to a halt: "There are decisions to be made, so that first and foremost we create a vision," he told the newspaper, adding that such action is the only thing that would allow negotiations to start at the point at which they were left off during the Olmert Administration.


Netanyahu's media advisor Nir Hefetz, however, denied any such suggestion was made and rejected the accusation: "Nothing of the kind has been suggested. On the contrary - Prime Minister Netanyahu offer the Palestinians to hold accelerated talks, once every two weeks, and in between, to have smaller, discreet meetings in order to seriously and responsibly pursue a peace agreement.


"The prime minister explicitly said that he believes what is necessary now is leaders' decisions not a multitude of advisors," Hefetz said in a statement.


Erekat further confirmed that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the negotiation session set for September 14-15, and that the meeting's agenda has been agreed upon, as well: "The agenda will include Jerusalem, the settlements, borders, the refugees, water, security and prisoners' release."


'Peace, settlements parallel lines'

While Erekat clarified that should an agreement be reached regarding the borders, the rest could be discussed, he was less than optimistic: "If an agreement is not reached about the 1967 borders, it will be a problem. If there is an agreement on the borders, it would make it easier to see progress on the issue of the settlements and on all other issues."


Turning his attention to the settlement activity and east Jerusalem, he added that "When Israel decided to strike peace with Egypt it tore down settlements in Sinai. When it decided on a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, it tore down settlements in Gaza.


"I hope Israel knows that peace in the West Bank will demand it does so again. Peace and the settlements are two parallel lines that do not meet," he said.


Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Tripoli Saturday to update Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on the first round of re-launched peace negotiations in Washington.


Fatah Central Committee members Nabil Sha'ath and Muhammad Shtayyeh, Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh and Palestinian ambassador to Libya Atef Audah also attended the meeting with Gaddafi.


Abbas is scheduled to visit Tunis on Sunday to update Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on the status of negotiations.


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report






פרסום ראשון: 09.04.10, 22:46
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