U.S. To Abbas: Go to direct talks to stop home demolitions and freeze settlements

28 Jul
1:21 AM

An Internal Palestinian memo issued by the Negotiation department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization warned the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of rescinding his preconditions to direct talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamine Netanyahu as political suicide, Palestinian media sources reported.The memo comes as U.S pressure on the Palestinian president increase to move for direct talks with the Israelis.

Abbas has earlier said the Palestinians will not go to direct talks unless Israel freezes all settlement activities and recognize the borders of the pre-1967 war as the borders of the Palestinian state, with some possible alternations of territory.

The document said that for the U.S. President Barack Obama to help with establishing a viable Palestinian state, Palestinians should accept to move soon to direct talks.

Abbas and Netanyahu have been negotiating for the past couple of month through the U.S. Envoy for Middle East, George Mitchell.

Mitchell said an American support package can include an extension of the settlement freeze and stop of demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

In the meantime, the Israeli government is not interested in renewing the so-called settlement freeze declared almost 8 months ago, which entails a freeze of settlement construction and expansion for ten months.

Local observers say the Israeli claim of settlement freeze is far form accurate, as the Israeli government continued to build new settlement units in the West Bank and especially in Jerusalem during the past months as usual.

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George Rishmawi

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