Palestinians skeptical on Clinton-Abbas meet (JERUSALEM POST) By NIDA TUMA 07/05/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Palestinian officials don’t believe that Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas’s Friday-scheduled meeting with US Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton and French President Francois Hollande will
bring them back to the negotiation table.
The meeting, which Clinton requested, will discuss the Israeli-
Palestinian peace talks and the release of Palestinian detainees in
Israeli jails. The meeting agenda also includes a Palestinian plan to
seek a UN resolution that condemns settlements in the “occupied”
Abbas left the Palestinian territories Wednesday evening for Jordan,
in a visit that will also take him to France.
Xavier Abu Eid, an adviser at the Palestine Liberation Organization
Negotiations Support Unit, told The Jerusalem Post that the release
of 132 Palestinians whom Israel had detained before it signed the
Oslo Accords with the PLO in 1993, as well as a total settlement
freeze, were part of previous agreements Israel and the PLO had
“If you need to talk about a credible peace process, it’s only fair
that the two parties abide by previous agreements in order to sit
together and negotiate again,” he said.
Earlier this year, the two parties met in the Jordanian capital
for “exploratory talks” that failed to revive the peace process.
Abu Eid said the PA was flexible in terms of meeting and opening a
dialogue with Israeli officials, but negotiations with Israel would
require a total settlement freeze.
Last month a presidential spokesperson declared that Abbas would
agree to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Benjamin Netanyahu if he
released the ill detainees, plus those who had been detained before
Oslo, and allowed police weapons to enter the West Bank.
The peace process has been halted since October 2010, as Israel
refused to extend a 10-month partial moratorium on settlement
Palestinians have declared that they want a total settlement freeze
before going back to negotiations, but Israel refuses any
preconditions to continuing the peace talks.
Abu Eid said the previous settlement suspension in 2010 wasn’t a real
one, as it excluded already-approved buildings, building in east
Jerusalem, and public buildings in the “occupied” territories.
“International organizations admitted that there were 900 violations
of the moratorium,” he said., adding, “We think that Israel uses the
peace process as a cover for building more settlements.
In 1990, the settlers [numbered] 100,000, and now they are more than
Clinton is expected to pressure Abbas on a decision the PLO executive
committee made last week to pursue a UN resolution condemning
An Abbas diplomatic adviser told the Post earlier this week that the
only gesture that would prevent Palestinians from heading to the UN
General Assembly was a settlement freeze.
A senior Fatah official downplayed the results that might come out
from this meeting, but said that Clinton would try to convince Abbas
with Israeli confidence-building measures.
“She doesn’t have much to offer. Israel is the one that decides if
the negotiations will continue, and they know how,” the official
said, referring to a settlement freeze.
The official said the Palestinian leadership wanted to go back to the
negotiation table, but under good terms.
“After two years of halting negotiations, the PA didn’t gain
anything,” he said.
Nevertheless, the latest popular pressure on the PA in Ramallah makes
it harder for the Palestinian leader to accept going back to the
negotiation table empty-handed.
“He [Abbas] has to have a good reason to give his people [for] why he
returned to talks after having [insisted] on a settlement freeze all
that time – it should be a settlement freeze or something as good as
that,” the official added.
On Tuesday evening, hundreds marched from downtown Ramallah to
Abbas’s headquarters in the Mukata compound, protesting negotiations
and condemning police violence at previous rallies.
Two previous rallies weren’t allowed to reach the Mukata in the
beginning of the week, as PA security forces violently kept back the
Abbas is also planning to meet with High Commissioner for Foreign and
Security Policy in the European Union Catherine Ashton, and the
foreign ministers of Britain and Norway. He is expected to discuss
the latest financial crisis in his tour.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Nabil Qassis announced that the PA was
incapable of paying salaries to public employees this month due to a
financial crisis described as the biggest in the PA’s history. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/05/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY