martedì 3 gennaio 2012

Anno nuovo, vita vecchia


The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho are set to meet in Jordan on Tuesday in a bid to get peace talks restarted. Negotiations have been stalled since September 2010.
Erekat told reporters in the West Bank on Monday that he doesn't expect any breakthrough unless Israel agrees to halt settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He also said Israel must accept its 1967 lines as the basis for a future border.
Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war.
Israel rejects the Palestinian demands and says peace talks should resume without preconditions.
A top Israeli Cabinet minister, on the other hand, said that the planned meeting was a positive step but should not be seen as renewal of negotiations.
"This is a positive development," Intelligence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told Israeli public radio. "It is the first time in a long while that the Palestinians have been prepared to come and talk to us directly, without preconditions."
On Tuesday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh will host Molcho and Erakat for talks which will also be attended by representatives of the international Quartet of peacemakers.
Meridor said the meeting did not in itself constitute a return to direct talks but expressed hope it would be a springboard which would "allow the Palestinians to return to negotiations."
"We were not asked to make declarations at the preliminary talks," he said, indicating that only in the context of actual negotiations would Israel lay out its positions.
The Palestinians also stressed the same point. "This meeting will be devoted to discussing the possibility of making a breakthrough that could lead to the resumption of negotiations," Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio.
"Therefore, it will not mark the resumption of negotiations," he said, reiterating the Palestinian insistence that there would be no talks without a halt to settlement activity.
Direct talks ground to a halt in September 2010, when an Israeli freeze on new West Bank construction expired and Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu refused to renew it.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will not hold talks without a new settlement freeze and an agreement on a clear framework for talks based on the 1967 lines.

2/1/2012 Arab News

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