President Shimon Peres addressed the recent diplomatic developments and tied them to the European Union's decision to bar member nations from cooperating with Israeli organizations and businesses operating in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.. According to Peres, "I have information that US Secretary of State John Kerry is on the verge of a breakthrough, and thus I request the Europeans to avoid the boycott."
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Peres added: "I call on the Europeans to prioritize peace. The sanctions sabotage the negotiations and cause damage. There is a chance for a breakthrough; I call on the (European) Union to refrain from this move."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to convene the Palestinian leadership and present the conclusions from his talks with Kerry in Amman. After the two held two meetings, it appears there is progress towards the possibility of renewed negotiations.
The meeting is expected to include members of the Fatah Central Committee, the PLO Executive Committee, and leaders of various Palestnian factions. Until now, there was a limited group within the Palestinian leadership that knew of the Kerry-Abbas talks' details, and Thursday will be the first time most of the Palestinian leadership will be informed first-hand about what Abbas had achieved in the talks.
Kerry, Abbas in Jordan (Photo: Getty Images)
The Palestinian leadership meeting was advanced due to Abbas' request to inform all parties prior to Kerry's departure. During his stay in Amman, Kerry met with members of the Arab Peace Initiative Follow-Up Committee, and called on them to support Abbas and ease his return to the negotiation table.
"The Committee members have stressed their commitment to achieving just and widespread peace in the Middle East, in cooperation with the US and all other parties involved," a statement by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, which hosted the meeting, read. The statement further noted that the Committee expresses great support of Kerry's efforts in regards to the renewal of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Domestic criticism of Mahmoud Abbas could increase if he agrees to return to direct talks with Israel. A senior Palestinian source said that it seems Kerry is unable to convince Israel to fully agree to negotiations based on the 1967 borders, freezing construction of settlements, and releasing all 103 prisoners imprisoned in Israel prior to the Oslo Accords . According to the source, "even if we had agreed to negotiations, it would be a waste of time since we very well know that (Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu has no intention of reaching a peace agreement. The continued settlements construction is his top priority."
It was reported Wednesday that the American plan to renew negotiations includes three main approaches: A diplomatic approach to bring parties back to the negotiating table, a security approach in which a US general was appointed to assess the situation in a visit to the region, and the third approach is economic.
West Bank airportUntil now, economic benefits to be given to the Palestinian Authority were publicly discussed, yet most of them remained vague. Israel demands that all steps, including the release of prisoners and economic incentives, will be conducted gradually.
Western sources told Ynet Wednesday that in meetings with international sources on the issue of renewing peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians stipulated that they be granted approval to build an airport in Ramallah – the first in the West Bank. According to the sources, the airport will serve helicopters and light planes, and the Palestinians are asking that it be build in Area A, which is exclusively under Palestinian control.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: email@example.com
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