The Abu Dhabi Saturday meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, ended without any progress. Abbas told Clinton that the Palestinians cannot resume the peace process with Israel while it is ongoing with its settlement activities. 56976
The Abu Dhabi Saturday meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, ended without any progress. Abbas told Clinton that the Palestinians cannot resume the peace process with Israel while it is ongoing with its settlement activities.
Abbas said that he refused an American proposal to resume peace talks before Israel makes any move on halting settlement activities.
His statements came during a press conference with Clinton. “Nothing new happened”, he said, “We clearly said that peace requires a complete halt of settlement activities”.
“The problem with Israel is that it refuses to be committed to the foundations of the peace process”, Abbas added, “Israel does not want to change its stances”.
Responding to a question about Jerusalem, Abbas said that the ‘Arabs and Muslims must realize that Jerusalem is threatened by the Israeli policies.
“Peace starts in Jerusalem”, Abbas stated, “Without Jerusalem there will be no peace with Israel”.
Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated that what Clinton offered is merely the Israeli stance.
“The gap is still very wide”, Erekat said, “It is actually increasing”.
Erekat said that Clinton told Abbas that Israel should be allowed to continue the construction of 3000 units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, and did not offer any halt of settlement activities in Jerusalem.
Clinton said that Israel should be allowed to accommodate the ‘natural growth of settlements’, while Abbas said that Israel must halt all violations including the construction and expansion of settlements, and must stop the demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.
Abbas also told Clinton that peace talks should be resumed from the point they stopped in September 2000, and rejected any temporary solutions such as a state with temporary borders.
Clinton To Meet Abbas In Abu Dhabi
Saturday October 31, 2009 06:14, Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is expected to hold a meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Abu Dhabi next Saturday.
Clinton will be trying to convince Abbas to resume peace talks with Israel amidst Palestinian rejection to resume the talks as long as Israel is ongoing with its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian leadership said that Israel should be committed to the Road Map Peace Plan of 2003, but the Israeli leadership, headed by Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, refuses to halt settlement activities and offered a ‘temporary freeze’.
Netanyahu is also demanding the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Nimir Hammad, adviser to President Abbas, said that the Abbas-Clinton meeting would focus on settlements and the shift in the U.S. stance as the United States initially demanded Israel to freeze all settlement activities to enable the resumption of the peace process, but backed down on this demand.
Hammad added that the Palestinian leadership will not return to the negotiations table without a full freeze on settlement activities.
“This is our position”, he said, “This is what we will tell Clinton”.
Clinton concluded a three-day visit to Pakistan on Friday, and will be heading to the Emirates on Saturday to meet Abbas.
Clinton is expected to hold a meeting with Netanyahu on Saturday evening