Palestine: Israel must take peace seriously

2013-11-11 19:32
Palestinians protest against resuming of peace talks with Israel. (Mahmud Hams, AFP)

Palestinians protest against resuming of peace talks with Israel. (Mahmud Hams, AFP)

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Ramallah - Failure to reach a peace deal with Israel would be better than signing an agreement that allows it to continue its settlement building, a top Palestinian negotiator said on Monday.

"In the absence of political will from the Israeli side to take the negotiations seriously, we believe that it is better not to reach a deal than to reach a bad deal," Mohammed Shtayyeh said in a statement.

His remarks were made just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up yet another visit to the region in a bid to shore up Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which appear to be close to collapse after three months of meetings.

Shtayyeh, who has been deeply involved in the talks since they began at the end of July, described a bad deal as "an agreement based upon Israeli colonial ambitions rather than upon internationally accepted principles of international law".

Israel, he charged, was merely using the negotiations as a front for deflecting international pressure over its ongoing settlement construction on land seized during the 1967 Six Day War, which the Palestinians want for a future state.

"By insisting on building settlements in Palestine, the government of Israel is showing that it is not interested in reaching a peace agreement. They show no seriousness," he said.

"Israel is using negotiations only as a tool to avoid international pressure while on the ground it continues its colonisation plans rather than peace plans."

Ahead of Kerry's arrival last week, several Israeli press reports suggested that the Americans were considering putting together a proposal for a possible interim agreement in a bid to force the talks out of deadlock.

Such an idea has been rejected out of hand by the Palestinians, and the reports were flatly denied by Kerry and his entourage.

"We are not looking for an extension of the interim period or any other kind of interim agreement," Shtayyeh said.

"What we seek is a comprehensive and final agreement that provides the requirements of justice for Palestine."

Read more on:    john kerry  |  palestine  |  israel  |  us  |  middle east peace

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