A senior member of Fatah's Central Committee has confirmed that the Palestinian leadership rejects any proposals for political solutions which are not based on a complete cessation of settlement construction in order to return to negotiations. International Relations Negotiator Dr. Nabil Shaath issued a press statement on Wednesday in which he clarified that a Palestinian return to the negotiating table demands commitment from both parties to the requirements of the peace process. This includes the full and genuine cessation of settlement activities, Israeli agreement on the 1967 borders as a reference point for the negotiations and the ending of the siege on the Gaza Strip.
Dr. Shaath called the latest announcement that Israel intends to build thousands of settlement units in occupied Jerusalem, "a glaring challenge for the world and the abandonment of the international efforts to revive the negotiations". He pointed out that separate meetings between the Quartet and the Palestinians and the Israelis will not succeed because of the atmosphere created by Israel which destroys any chance for peace.
"The Israeli government, with its radical Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, represents the main obstacle to peace," Shaath said. "The international community should exercise real pressure on Tel Aviv to end its racist, bloody policies against the Palestinians."
Practically-speaking, he added, "Israel wants neither to stop the settlement construction, nor end the siege on the Gaza Strip. It exercises political incitement against President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership and yet it wants to continue formal negotiations, during which it would no doubt continue to loot Palestinian land and expand settlements."