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PA official rates Kerry's chances of reviving talks as slim

A Palestinian official said on Wednesday that US Secretary of State John Kerry's chances of reviving peace negotiations between the PA and Israel are slim. Veteran negotiator Nabil Shaath told the official Palestinian radio station that Kerry is still unable to put pressure on the Israeli government to meet its obligations under the terms of the peace process.

"It's obvious following the recent meetings in Jordan that there is no chance," said Shaath. "This is not because Kerry does not want it to happen, but because he is unable to exert pressure on Israel. Israel is responsible for obstructing the peace process."


Shaath stressed that the Palestinians reject the idea of "exploratory" talks with Israel under the auspices of the Jordanians: "We tried such talks in the past and they we won't go in this direction again because the negotiations failed."

He noted that there is a real feeling that the lack of progress in the peace process is down to Israeli intransigence. "That's why we cannot wait with regard to pushing towards benefiting from what we achieved with the UN approval of our non-member status," he added, in a clear hint at possible legal action through membership of the International Court of Justice.

The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation decided on Tuesday to form a committee to study future options "if the Israel government insists on settlement construction that obstructs the peace process".

The committee stressed that it holds on to the clear and declared Palestinian position on the resumption of the peace process and negotiations with regards to the complete halt of settlement construction in all of the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem. It also highlighted the need for Israeli recognition of the 1967 borders for the two states.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations ended in failure in October 2010 and over the past few weeks Secretary of State Kerry has been having separate talks with the two sides to revive them. The stumbling block remains Israeli settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land.

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