Palestinians committed to 9 months of peace talks

2013-11-18 22:10
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. (File, AP)

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ramallah - The Palestinians will stay in peace talks with Israel for the planned nine months despite their fierce opposition to Israel's settlement building, the Palestinian president said Monday.

The remarks by Mahmoud Abbas came at a news conference with visiting French President Francois Hollande, who urged Israel to halt settlement construction on lands the Palestinians seek for a future state.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the terms of a Palestinian state resumed in late July, with US mediators saying at the time they envision a deal within nine months. Since then, Israel has announced plans for thousands more settlement apartments, sparking Palestinian outrage.

Abbas confirmed on Monday that his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, submitted his resignation at one point, but said he hasn't accepted it so far.

He reiterated his opposition to settlement building, but said that "we are continuing the negotiations for nine months".

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations had broken down for nearly five years, and US Secretary of State John Kerry spent several months getting the sides back to the table.

Under Kerry's terms, the Palestinians agreed not to seek an upgrade of their status at the UN or membership in additional UN agencies for the duration of the talks, while Israel agreed to release 104 long-held Palestinian prisoners in several stages.

However, Kerry failed to win a pledge from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt settlement construction as part of the ground rules for talks.

Hollande reiterated his position on peace talks in a speech to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, on Monday evening.

'Break the stalemate'

Netanyahu, speaking at the podium just before Hollande, called on the Palestinian president to address the Knesset and said he would go to Ramallah. "Lets' break the stalemate," Netanyahu said.

"In order for peace to be real it has to be a two way street," Netanyahu said. "You cannot ask the Jews to recognise a Palestinian national state without demanding from the Palestinians that they recognise the national state of the Jewish people," he said.

In his earlier remarks in Israel, Hollande said settlements "complicate" the negotiations. In the West Bank, he adopted tougher language.

"France opposes settlements, calls for halting the settlements because they complicate the negotiations and make a two-state solution difficult," Hollande said at his news conference with Abbas.

The Palestinians hope to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

In previous negotiations, the sides raised the idea of using the 1967 lines as a starting point for border talks and allowing for small land swaps that would enable Israel to keep some of the settlements.

Netanyahu says he is not bound by understandings reached in previous negotiations and rejects using the 1967 lines as a base point.

Hollande said on Monday that France supports these principles. He urged Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises for a peace deal, adding that "we can only encourage you and support you".

In his speech at Israel's parliament on Monday evening, Hollande said his country would not let Iran get nuclear weapons, saying it would endanger Israel and other countries.

Netanyahu has expressed dismay over a possible deal between Iran and six world powers, including France, that could lift some sanctions while leaving Tehran with uranium-enrichment capabilities.

Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its very existence, citing its repeated calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, Tehran's long-range missile programme and its support for violent anti-Israel groups like the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful means.

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  mahmoud abbas  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content this holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.