PLO Official: Secret Peace Talks serve Israeli Interests

A PLO Executive Committee member on Tuesday said that secret meetings between Palestinian and Israeli officials serve Israeli interests and violate previous PLO decisions on resuming peace talks.

Tayseer Khalid, from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that several meetings have occurred recently in Arab and European countries, with the most recent talks involving PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom.

“Sadly, the PLO Executive Committee and Palestinian leaders know about such meetings only from Israeli media,” Khalid said, adding that such talks serve Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by relieving international pressure on his government.

The meeting also violates decisions taken by the PLO Central Council and Executive Committee which stipulate that peace talks with Israel can only resume when the government ceases illegal settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The agenda of the meetings is set by Silvan Shalom, who is also responsible for future peace talks with the PLO, and falls in line with his previous comments of returning to talks without “preconditions,” Khalid said.

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat met with Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom in Amman last week, according to media reports, in an attempt to “build trust” between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas.

There were no further details available about the substance of the talks.

Both Netanyahu and President Abbas were reportedly aware of the talks and approved them, Israeli news site Haaretz reported, with senior Jordanian and European officials also involved.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.com)

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