Abbas is likely to tell the Arab League that he is rejecting direct negotiations at least until the period allotted indirect negotiations formally ends.For a while now Palestinian Authority leadership and Palestinian President Abu Mazen himself have lamented to lack of progress in the indirect negotiations.
It is expected that when Abbas addresses the Arab League that he will ask them to endorse his move to not move to direct negotiations until the timeframe set up for the indirect negotiations comes to an end.
‘Abbas will tell them that, until this moment, there is nothing to convince us to go to direct talks,’ said one Palestinian official.
The Palestinian Authority government has come under increasing pressure in the past few weeks from all sides internationally, with many Western leaders encouraging Abbas to enter direct negotiations.
Abbas has wanted to see progress in areas relating to security arrangements and borders in the indirect talks before committing to face-to-face discussions.
An extension to the construction freeze in settlements would also likely sweeten the deal for the Palestinian leader, who would face political suicide domestically for agreeing to talks without certain political guarantees.
A freeze on settlement construction is unlikely though as Israeli Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman soundly rejected any possibility of that happening on Wednesday during a press conference with Spain’s Foreign Minister.
‘We must start direct talks, but there is no place for a (construction) moratorium after September 25,’ Lieberman said.
Lieberman heads an ultra-rightwing party in Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition and strongly opposes any limits on construction in the West Bank. He also lives in an illegal settlement outside of Jerusalem.