PA, Israel resume talks amid protests

PA, Israel resume talks amid protests
Tue Jul 30, 2013 13:07:17

Representatives of the Israeli regime and Palestinian Authority (PA) have resumed the so-called Mideast peace talks in Washington DC amid protests by Palestinians.

"The talks will serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural work plan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months,” said the US State Department in a statement on Monday.

Meanwhile, several Palestinian factions, including Hamas resistance movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have condemned the resumption of talks.

"The PFLP is against a return to negotiations," said PFLP leader Khaleda Jarar, adding, "It is an individual move."

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said that "Hamas rejects Kerry's announcement of a return to talks and considers the Palestinian Authority's return to negotiations with the occupation to be at odds with the national consensus."

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah and Gaza to protest against acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas' decision to restart talks with the Israeli regime.

Former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who was designated by US Secretary of State John Kerry as the lead negotiator for Israeli-Palestinian talks, presided over the preliminary talks in Washington. The talks are scheduled to continue on Tuesday.

The Palestinian delegation is led by chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, while Justice Minister Tzipi Livni represents the Israeli side.

Major topics on the agenda include the future of illegal Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank, the status of al-Quds, and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds. Last Palestinian-Israeli talks were halted in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the West Bank.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.


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