Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat threatened on Thursday to suspend negotiations with the Israeli occupation if the latter continued targeting Palestinians and promoting settlement activities.
During his visit to the Jordan Valley, Erekat told journalists and diplomats that: “There is a pattern in these negotiations since they began. Every time” there is another session of the peace talks the Israelis “offer more settlement bids, destroy more Palestinian homes and they [even] killed seven Palestinians.”
He added: “Somebody needs to tell the Israelis: ‘Give this peace process a chance, because if your pattern is to prevent Palestinians from coming to the negotiating table, you’re about to succeed.'”
Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal for Israel to maintain a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley, even after the creation of a Palestinian state, Erekat said: “Last year Israeli income from the projects in that area was estimated to be $612 million. Of course, with these interests, he would like to stay for 400 years.”
Despite the escalating tensions between the Palestinian and Israeli sides over the last month, the negotiations have continued.
The latest meeting was held in Jerusalem on Monday while Israeli extremists, including a Likud minister, patrolled the Sanctuary Yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Muslim worshipers were trapped inside the Mosque for hours until the minister left.
Last week the Israeli Knesset approved a measure that allows Jews to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place for Muslims, asking the Israeli police to protect them.