On Saturday, a senior Palestinian official told the Quds Net online news agency that the planned meeting between Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli deputy Prime Minister, Shaul Mofaz, was postponed until further notice.The unnamed source stated that Abbas informed his assistants to tell the Israeli side “that Abbas will not hold this meeting due to Israel’s recent decision to issue bids for the construction of additional 171 settlement units in Jerusalem”.

He said that Israel “is challenging the world and the Palestinians by continuing the construction and expansion of its illegal settlements”, and added that “Israel continues to challenge the Palestinian Authority, and continues to impose facts on the ground by building settlements, instead of building peace.”

The planned meeting was supposed to take about two hours, and Mofaz, according to a number of Israeli reports, intended to hand Abbas a letter from Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, informing him that the Israeli government is willing to conduct ‘confidence building’ measures to facilitate the resumption of peace talks.

Nimir Hammad, political adviser to president Abbas, stated that the planned, and now postponed meeting, does not in any way mean the resumption of the political process, as the official Palestinian stance is against the resumption of peace talks before Israel ends its invasions and violations, including the demolition of homes and the construction and expansion of settlements.

“Abbas held several meetings with Israeli officials; these meetings have nothing to do with political initiatives,” Hammad said, “Such meetings are only meant to explain to Israeli leaders the Palestinian stances and positions.”

It is worth mentioning that several Palestinian factions denounced the P.A. for meeting Israeli officials and the planned meeting with Mofaz, while several popular nonviolent youth movements held protests against the meeting, and said that Mofaz “is a war criminal, responsible for several crimes including the massacre in Jenin refugee camp in April, 2002”.