Israel: Palestinians Make it Impossible to Talk Peace

Published: July 28th 2010
in News » Israel

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom

According to Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has made it nearly impossible to go through with direct talks with Israel, by laying down a set of seemingly unattainable conditions.


"The Palestinians have set three impossible conditions: that the negotiations start from the point they left off at the end of 2008 when Ehud Olmert was prime minister, that they be based on a total Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines and that the freeze of [settlement] construction continue," Shalom was quoted as saying.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to start direct talks with the Palestinians as soon as possible, but the Palestinians have demanded certain stipulations they claim to be essential to the success of the peace talks.


According to a Palestinian official, it is expected that on Thursday Abbas will tell the Arab League y that because indirect talks with Israel have not progressed as well as hoped, there is little hope that direct talks will be successful.


"Abbas will tell them that, until this moment, there is nothing to convince us to go to direct talks," the official told Reuters. "There is nothing new."


Despite pressure from the U.S., Abbas has said he first wants indirect talks to cover topics such as security and borders before direct talks can begin.


On Thursday, the Palestinian leader will address the Arab League's peace process committee in Cairo, regarding the state of the current U.S.-mediated indirect talks that began in May, which are due to end in September.


George Mitchell, Middle East envoy to U.S. President Barack Obama, met with Abbas on July 17 in Ramallah. According to Palestinian officials, at the meeting Abbas denied a U.S. request to begin direct negotiations.


Another major issue impeding talks is the matter of settlements in East Jerusalem, which has been in contention for months now. Abbas feels that until these core issues are dealt with, to move forward with direct peace talks will prove to be futile.

Related articles: (peace talks, Abbas, Netanyahu, settlement, Silvan Shalom)

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