Israeli official: Abbas speech death blow to peace talks
Published Saturday 26/04/2014 (updated) 29/04/2014 09:54
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A senior Israeli official said on Saturday that President Mahmoud Abbas' speech earlier in the day marked the end of the peace negotiations, according to Agence-France Presse.
An unnamed official told AFP that Abbas "administered the coup de grace to the peace process today," with his speech earlier in the day, in which he offered a conditional return to peace talks after Israel shut them down two days earlier.
The Israeli official added that the Palestinian leader had "recycled the same conditions, after he already knows Israel won't accept them."
President Abbas had said in a speech to the Palestine Liberation Organization central council in Ramallah that he would return to the negotiating table if if Israel froze construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, freed Palestinian prisoners it promised to release at the beginning of talks, and began discussion on the borders of the future Palestinian state.
Abbas also stressed the new government would "obey" his existing policies, including the recognition of Israel and non-violence.
The speech came after Israel halted talks with the Palestinians on Thursday after a unity agreement was signed between the two largest Palestinian political parties, the PLO-led Fatah and Hamas.
Israel said it refused to engage in negotiations with any party that included Hamas, which it says does not recognize its right to exist and seeks its destruction.
Israel, however, has never recognized the right to exist of the Palestinian state, nor does it abide by non-violence as a principle.