Palestinians Skeptical over Direct Talks

Benjamin Netanyahu Palestinian officials express skepticism over the so-called reconciliation talks underway in Washington, citing the Israeli side’s poor record in living up to its promises.

Palestinian sources expressed doubts regarding Israel’s sincerity, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas launched direct talks in Washington, in the presence of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday.

”There is a vast difference between making promises and keeping them,” Israeli news website Ynet quoted PA sources as saying.

They said they were unimpressed by Netanyahu’s optimistic statements.

"Experience shows that Israeli promises are very pliable," the Palestinian sources said on condition of anonymity, adding that the PA is awaiting Israeli action after a 10-month moratorium expires on September 26, when the settlement freeze will officially end.

They said that the Palestinians have always kept their promises, but the Israelis have not.

If the 1999 Oslo Accords were applied, a Palestinian state would have been formed a decade ago, but the Israelis “want to begin the entire process anew,” they were quoted by Ynet as saying.

The US is supporting Netanyahu’s move to construct new settlement units in large settlement blocs that would remain in Israeli grip once an agreement is reached, the PA sources said.

In this case, they added, the reconciliation talks will once again reach a dead-end.

The PA has said that it will pull out of talks if Israel renews the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas is facing mounting criticism from Palestinian groups who say he is yielding to "US and Israeli pressure."

Palestinians have also raised concerns that further concessions on the part of Abbas could lead to an intensified violation of their rights by Israel.

The last round of direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel broke off in December 2008 when Israel launched a deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians.

(Press TV)

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