Israel responds to Abbas

2012-05-13 16:35

Ramallah - Israel was prepared to restart peace talks with the Palestinians "without any preconditions," the spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

Regev's comments came after a Netanyahu envoy met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah overnight, and gave him a letter outlining Israel's response to a list of Palestinian conditions for restarting peace talks.

The meeting, between Abbas and envoy Yitzhak Molcho, came after the centrist Kadima faction joined the premier's right-wing coalition last week, forming a government of national unity with an avowed key goal of reviving the peace talks.

Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev gave no detail about the letter's specific content.

"Israel is ready to discuss all the core issues of the conflict and is ready to engage immediately," he told dpa.

Abbas has repeatedly said he will not resume the moribund peace talks until Israel halts construction in its West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.

The two sides issued a rare joint statement after the late Saturday talks in the central West Bank city.

"Israel and the Palestinian Authority are committed to achieving peace, and the sides hope that the exchange of letters between President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu will further this goal," the statement said.

Netanyahu expressed cautious optimism at the unity cabinet's first session in Jerusalem.

End the crisis

"I hope that we will be able to advance the dialogue between the sides in order to resume the diplomatic talks," he said.

Abbas, for his part, said his meeting with Molcho focused on a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

"We are working to end this crisis as soon as possible," he told a meeting of his Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee in Ramallah. He expressed hope that Israel would respond positively to the hunger strikers' demands, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

More than 4 000 Palestinians are jailed in Israel for security-related offences, but the Palestinians consider them to be political prisoners. Most are militants, but they also include Hamas lawmakers.

The hunger striking prisoners' demands include visiting rights for their Gazan relatives, disallowed since the radical Islamist movement seized sole control of the coastal enclave in 2007.

Regev did not comment on speculation of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in a bid to end the hunger strike, possibly this week.

The mass hunger strike will enter its fifth week on Tuesday, while two are said to have been without food for over 75 days - although the Israeli prison service says they are on intravenous drips.

The peace talks stalled in September 2010, when Israel failed to extend a 10-month partial moratorium on construction in its West Bank settlements, arguing that the Palestinians had left it to the last minute before agreeing to negotiate.

Abbas fears that it would jeopardize a viable Palestinian state if Israeli settlements continued to expand while open-ended negotiations were underway.

He also demands that Netanyahu commit to the borders of 4 June 1967 -before Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt - as the basis for the future Palestinian state.

  • Larry - 2012-05-13 17:12

    First condition: East Jerusalem is now annexed by Israel and will remain to be Israel soveriegn territory froevermore. Second condition: Any future Palestinian entity will be demilitarised. Third condition: Jews will continue to live in any future Palestinian state, just as non-Jews are full and secure citizens of Israel. Fourth condition: The future government of the future Palestinian state will recognise and respect the Jewish state of Israel. The Palestinian people may not have any conditions.

  • Nash - 2012-05-13 17:41

    the modern days...zzzz the aggressors, the killers, the real terrorist and robbers is the one demanding, making condition, no shame at all. -philippines is complaining about being bullied a powerful country and cannot do anything. probably now they realize how's the Palestinian feeling

  • James - 2012-05-13 17:42

    The warmongers on Iraq were Perle, Wolfowitz, Aipac, Krauthammer, Liebermann. We spent $1Trill destroyed a Country and killed over 100,000 innocent people. "Bibi" & Co is trying his best to get USA attacking Iran. My Jewish friend "Israel should be a Palestinian state"

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-13 18:15

      James Rossouw, the South African Muslim American. Hahahaha! Plus, you're still lying and blinding yourself. The US and Nato did not "kill over 100,000 innocent people" in Iraq. They targeted Saddam Hussein's military and autocratic resources. Al-Quaida and the Taliban, on the other hand, has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's with their car bombs and suicide attacks in public places, intentionally targeting civilians aimed at terrorizing them into allowing a truly oppressive and chauvinistic regime that is inhuman and non-Muslim. When are you going to take the time to understand what is really happening.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-13 18:32

      While all human deaths and injuries from war are awful and avoidable, the more-real number is 30,000 former Iraqi regime deaths, after many warnings.

      schewitz - 2012-05-14 08:11

      James, Israel is the one and only Jewish State, it is this based on 4000 years of history and the moral and ethical right for Jews to have a state. One can create the first Palestine state in the history of mankind ( yes there never has been an independent Palestinian state...) but this cannot be at the expense of the Jewish state. To promote the idea that palestine should be a state at the expense of the jewish state is to say that everyone but jews deserve the right to a state but jews. Think about that and tell me what that is....yes it is plain antisemitism. Regarding Iraq what on earth has this article got to do with Iraq. Your conspiriasy theories are humorous. And go on the lines of many other :jews control the world" or "jews control the media" and my friend think about what that is....yes antisemitism

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-13 18:09

    He [Abbas] demands that Netanyahu commit to the borders of 4 June 1967 -before Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt - as the basis for the future Palestinian state. Israel captured this territory after two full military invasions of Israel. By the rules of war, that territory now belongs to Israel. This is the starting point. There are no occupied territories.

      Larry - 2012-05-13 18:53

      Abbas has no right to demand anything. He will act strong for his humiliated people and for Islam, but he will be kissing Netanyahu's bum for favors behind closed doors.

  • Jaba - 2012-05-14 09:00

    A new report from one of the world's most respected NGO, Open Doors, shines a spotlight on the oppression of Christians in Muslim lands. It addresses the diminution, subjugation, emasculation, conversion, massacre and deportation of the indigenous Christians who came under the rule of Muhammad’s faithful. The survey demolishes the mainstream media’s obfuscation. With the only exception being North Korea, an atheistic nightmare where 70,000 Christians are held in ghastly camps, 9 of the 10 worst persecutors of Christians are Islamic countries (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan.) Of the 50 countries on the Open Doors’ list, 35 are Muslim (the Palestinian Authority is listed, but not Israel.) Islamic groups recently issued an ultimatum to the Christians in Nigeria: “You have three days to leave, or you’ll die.” Over 13,750 Christians have already been killed in Nigeria since the introduction of Sharia laws in 2001. Some 500 Christians have been slaughtered since last December and 300 churches have been demolished.

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