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PLO meets on peace talks, reconciliation
Published Saturday 26/04/2014 (updated) 27/04/2014 11:25
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Palestinian protestors throw stones toward members of the
Israeli security forces during clashes in the centre of the West
Bank town of Hebron following Friday prayers on April 25, 2014
(AFP Hazem Bader)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- A key PLO body was set to hold Saturday talks after Israel pulled out of US-sponsored peace negotiations in response to a Palestinian reconciliation deal with Hamas.

The meeting of the PLO's Central Council at its West Bank headquarters in Ramallah was to start at 11 a.m. with a brief speech by president Mahmoud Abbas, and will continue on Sunday, when the Palestinian leader is scheduled to deliver a major address.

The council had called the meeting over the crisis in negotiations, but will also discuss the Wednesday unity deal with the Islamist Hamas movement governing Gaza.

Israel suspended the peace talks over the deal, saying it would have no dealings with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas.

Israel and the United States had been hoping to extend the faltering peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline, but the efforts hit a wall last month when Israel refused to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners.

The Palestinians retaliated by applying to adhere to 15 international treaties and then Abbas, who heads the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, listed conditions for extending the talks beyond the April 29 deadline.

Abbas said he would agree to an extension if Israel freezes settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, frees the prisoners and begins discussions on the future borders of a promised Palestinian state.

Israel dismissed the conditions.

In the unity deal penned this week, Hamas and the Fatah-led PLO agreed to establish a "national consensus" government under Abbas within weeks.

The reconciliation deal infuriated Israel, which said it would "not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, a terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel," and vowed unspecified "measures" in response.

Delegates from Hamas were invited to participate the weekend PLO meeting, but sources from the Islamist movement said they would not be attending.

On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said US efforts to broker a peace deal had not failed, but were currently in a "holding period" as Palestinians and Israelis decide their next move.

She noted Abbas had insisted that any government formed with Hamas backing would "represent his policies, and that includes recognition of Israel, commitment to non-violence, adherence to prior agreements and commitment to peaceful negotiations toward a two-state solution."

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah informed Abbas Friday he would resign if the president deemed it necessary for the formation of the new unity government, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
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1 ) Israel torpedoed ?? / that is
26/04/2014 09:48
quite FUNNY! blame the Jews for ANYTHING. How about global warming?

2 ) nancy / canada
26/04/2014 10:25
The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas Friday launched a broad propaganda campaign from Ramallah to persuade the Israeli public and world media that the radical Hamas, with which it signed a unity pact Wednesday, was ready to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and accept former peace accords. No Hamas official has confirmed this.

3 ) Tan Ki / EU
26/04/2014 15:20
Saw Abbas speech this morning on Al Jazeera, accompanied by various dignitaries including the Bishop, showing the world what unity means. Israel in the meantime, continues to call Hamas a terrorist organisation, says it won't work with it, etc. Hamas knew what it was getting when it agreed to reconcile with Fatah and form a unity government, so there must be tacit recognition of 'certain principles' with regard to adherence to protocol. Warring sides, don't express admiration, that comes later!
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