PLO Halts Talks, Seeks Arab Support

Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul said Friday that Palestinian leaders will seek Arab support for their decision not to return to direct negotiations with Israel, after exploratory talks ended last month without agreement.

PLO officials are set to brief the Arab League follow-up committee on Sunday, after Palestinian and Israeli envoys met for a series of talks in Jordan before an international Quartet deadline of Jan. 26 to submit proposals on borders and security issues. 

Al-Aloul told Ma’an: "There will not be any more meetings with the Israelis. No one has any illusion that negotiations will lead to results, and we will ask the Arab committee to support our position."

Palestinian officials say they cannot return to talks while Israel continues expanding settlements on land needed for a viable Palestinian state.

President Mahmoud Abbas will ask Arab nations to stand by him in opposing political pressure and threats by the US and other countries to force him back to negotiations, al-Aloul added.

He will outline to the committee Palestine’s strategy of using international law and popular resistance to oppose punitive measures, such as freezing of aid and tax revenues, and to demonstrate the illegality of Israel’s occupation.

"The occupation must be resolved — either it goes, or stays and bears its full responsibilities," al-Aloul said.

Asked if he was hinting at the future dissolution of the PA, he said: "We are not satisfied with the current situation, but we are trying to resolve and not dissolve the status quo."

The Fatah official said the leadership had not received any offer of incentives to return to talks, after reports that the diplomatic Quartet has proposed a series of measures to ease Israeli restrictions on Palestinians in order to restart negotiations.

Al-Aloul assured that elections would be held immanently, overseen by the interim cabinet headed by Abbas as agreed with Hamas in Doha last week.

A Palestinian official in Gaza told London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat on Friday that the US has informed the PA it has no objections to a government led by Abbas.

But al-Aloul said Washington had not yet decided on their response to the Hamas-Fatah deal to appoint an interim cabinet.

(Ma’an News)

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