Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, told the U.S. Middle East peace Envoy, George Mitchell, that the Palestinian Authority would provide its final decision on U.S. mediated proximity talks with Israel on Saturday. The Palestinian Authority said that the United States will declare its stance on guarantees for the talks in the coming days.
Abbas and Mitchell held a meeting Friday and did not make official statements to the press.
The Palestine News Agency, WAFA, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority, reported that head of the negotiations department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Saeb Erekat, said that Abbas and Mitchell finalized some essential issues, and that they will be holding two more meetings on Saturday and Sunday.
Erekat added that Abbas confirmed that the decision for holding talks will be made during the Saturday meeting with the Executive Committee of the PLO.
Erekat added that Israel must be committed to halting all settlement activities, reopening all Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, and must stop its attacks and arrest campaigns.
Dr. Erekat further stated that the Israeli government must choose between settlements and peace.
The Israeli Radio quoted senior Israeli government officials stating Friday that should proximity talks fail, Washington will likely present a new peace plan in coordination with the Quartet Committee (The United states, the United Nations, The European Union and Russia).
On Friday evening, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and Kadima leader, opposition head Tzipi Livni, held a meeting but did not make any statement after it.
The Hamas movement warned that resuming talks would only give Israel more chances to attack the Palestinian people, and called on the Quartet Committee to stop “selling illusions to the Palestinian people”.
Hamas said that the talks should he declared dead as Israel is not interested in peace, ongoing with its illegal settlement activities, and is ongoing with its violations against the Palestinian people.