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Israel rejects Abbas conditions for extending talks
Published Tuesday 22/04/2014 (updated) 23/04/2014 19:11
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A Palestinian child gestures towards a member of the Israeli
security forces as he stands guard in the East Jerusalem
neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, on April 18, 2014
(AFP/File Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that he would extend faltering peace talks with Israel only if it agreed to conditions, including a settlement freeze, which it promptly rejected.

Abbas listed his demands during a meeting with Israeli journalists at his headquarters in Ramallah just a week before a nine-month target for a peace deal.

His comments came as US envoy Martin Indyk went into a new meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in a bid to save the US-sponsored talks from collapse.

Abbas said he would agree to an extension of negotiations beyond the April 29 deadline if Israel frees a group of prisoners as previously earmarked for release and discusses the borders of a future Palestinian state.

"There must be a total freeze of settlements," by Israel in the occupied West Bank including annexed East Jerusalem, Abbas said.

"The borders between Israel and the state of Palestine must also be defined within a month, two or three," if the talks are to be extended, he said.

The PLO and the international community have long viewed Israeli settlement construction as a major obstacle to peace talks.

The peace process was engulfed by crisis last month after Israel refused to free a fourth and final group of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners which would have completed an agreement that brought the sides back to negotiations last July.

"He who makes such conditions does not want peace," a senior Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said that settlement building in Jerusalem would not be frozen and that Israel had never agreed to discuss the border issue separately from other core issues.

These include Palestinians refugees, the fate of Jerusalem, security and mutual recognition.

"It is impossible to define borders before an agreement on the other issues," the Israeli official said.

He also reiterated that Israel planned on expelling to the Gaza Strip, or abroad, some of the last batch of prisoners that Abbas wants freed.

"This has been clearly explained to the Palestinians. Never has Israel committed not to carry out expulsions," he said.

Israel has announced plans for thousands of illegal settler homes in the occupied West Bank and killed over 60 Palestinians since peace talks began in July.

Israeli officials have also refused to discuss withdrawing Israeli soldiers and settlers from the occupied Jordan Valley, which forms around a third of the West Bank.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Little / Problem
22/04/2014 22:42
Abbas was told to shove his conditions and pre-conditions. He also can dissolve his PA or do with it whatever he wants. Palestinians would be the first in human history who first declared non-existing palestinian state and shortly after that declare it dissolved. Only palestinians are capable of doing that many stupid things that fast.

2 ) Outlier / USA
22/04/2014 23:18
Israel continues to wait for a quid pro quo that shows the PLO can be a partner in a peace settlement. The PLO lacks the courage to take that step, so negotiations end. PLO preconditions are doomed to fail unless the Palestinians provide Israel a tangible concession in return.

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
23/04/2014 00:12
The Palestinians for years refused Israel's conditions for peace talks: no conditions. The Palestinians have to realize that if you want peace, you sit down and negotiate a peace. But Palestinians have never been willing to do that. In fact Abbas does not even represent all Palestinians, half of whom say they do NOT want peace and want only war instead. Yet Israel never insisted (I think they should have) that Hamas accept peace talks, nor stop ongoing and constant Palestinian violence.

4 ) Stupid Conditions / TRUTH
23/04/2014 03:38
If "borders must be defined within a month or two," then * SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION in such s short period could * MAKE NO DIFFERENCE. However, since there is no possibility of an agreement on borders, * ABBAS IS JUST STALLING, AND * ISRAEL IS DONE WITH HIS GAMES, so Abbas can dismantle the PA or not, but the only game in town is on Israel's terms, and the PA will not become a real state any other way !!

5 ) d'Arc / USA
23/04/2014 04:04
No point to discussions without borders defined. ALL else flows from borders.

6 ) betz55 / USA
23/04/2014 05:51
He who makes such conditions does not want peace," a senior Israeli official - what an idiot. Clearly then, Israel does not want peace as all they have done is make conditions. Who does these people think they are fooling ?

7 ) Abbas is a WINNER / he exposes to the whole
23/04/2014 07:55
world that ISRAEL IS THE ONE WHO DOES NOT WANT PEACE The Arabs welcome Israel in their midst and want to live PEACEFULLY with their ancient cousines.

8 ) How can Israel continue / to talk peace
23/04/2014 09:01
when Abbas is bringing HAMAS into the equation?? Who is going to sign that agreement? Hanyieh????

9 ) Michael Collins / Eire
23/04/2014 15:06
They do say truth is stranger than fiction, and who does what or signs or writes, is written in destiny! To quote from the Rub?iy?t of Omar Khayy?m, ..."The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it"... They should all move forward for peace, while the opportunity is still there.

10 ) Dimi / Germany
23/04/2014 15:21
ad 8 that is the burning question.What will happen after the long expected reconcialation, if Abbas "retires" Hanyieh will replace him. In case of new elections Hamas will be the winner,consequently, the trouble will start again from the beginning for Israel and the Middle East.

11 ) Alana Turing / UK
23/04/2014 18:42
#8,10, Well currently Ismael Haniyeh is a Prime Minister (freely elected) & Benjamin Netanyahu is a Prime Minister (freely elected), so I think that makes them counterparts. However, as has been said, things could change; Haniyeh could replace Abbas & Hamas could the win elections. However as long whoever/whatever happens is the result of free & fair elections, what is the problem? I thought 'Democracy' was the key in ME. Hamas is capable of taking this forward, they should be given the chance!
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