Palestinians to proceed with UN bid
Ramallah - Senior Palestinian officials say that negotiations with Israel have become pointless after Israel's prime minister rejected President Barack Obama's call to base Mideast border talks on the pre-1967 war lines.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stance only strengthened the Palestinian resolve to bypass such talks, largely deadlocked since 2008, and seek recognition of a state at the UN instead, said Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
However, Abbas himself has not given his official response to parameters for a Mideast peace deal that Obama laid out in a speech on Thursday, and it remains unclear whether the Palestinian leader would now consider abandoning the UN bid.
Since the speech, Abbas has been consulting by phone with Arab leaders. He plans to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Saturday and then convene the leaders of the PLO and his Fatah movement later in the week before giving a response, Abbas’ aide Saeb Erekat said.
In his speech, Obama said that border talks must be held on the basis of Israel's frontier in 1967, before it captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians want to establish their state in the territories Israel has occupied since that war. Recognition of the 1967 line as the starting point, while allowing for mutually agreed land swaps, has been a long-standing Palestinian demand.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said endorsing the pre-1967 cease-fire line was done in the hopes of dissuading the Palestinians from going ahead with their UN plan.
Obama warned the Palestinians in his speech that their UN bid would be pointless and said he expected more explanations from Abbas about his reconciliation with the Islamic militant Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel.
Netanyahu laid out hardline positions after his meeting with Obama at the White House on Friday. He said the 1967 borders were "indefensible", that the Palestinians could forget about resettling Palestinian refugees in Israel and that Abbas would have to choose between peace with Israel and reconciliation with Hamas.