Sunday, June 17, 2012

Abbas blames Israel for his own refusal to hold peace talks

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) — Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Sunday blasted the peace process with Israel as "clinically dead" just days before negotiator Saeb Erakat meets US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"The peace process is clinically dead and the Israeli side is definitely the one responsible," Abbas said at a conference in the West Bank town of Ramallah, reiterating a statement he has made on several occasions.

"The ball is in their court."

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on ice since autumn 2010 in an intractable dispute over Jewish settlements, with the Palestinians refusing to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze and Israel's agreement to accept pre-1967 lines as the basis for talks.

Israel has said it wants an immediate return to the negotiating table -- but without such preconditions. [...]
The move is, of course, designed to make US pressure Israel to make impossible concessions, thus avoiding actual negotiations during which Palestinians always say no:
"We hope the American administration compels the Israeli government to fulfil its obligations in order to get the peace process back on track."