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US insists on returning to negotiations, but Palestinians say they refuse

A Palestinian official said that the Palestinian Authority refuses to return to the US-sponsored bilateral negotiations with Israel, citing the ineffectiveness of these negotiations while Israel continues to expand its occupation of the Palestinian territories through its illegal settlement construction projects, Quds Net News Agency reported.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Quds Net that: "The US administration insists on returning to bilateral negotiations, which have been tried for many years and have not lead to anything."

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Monday in Washington with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to discuss restarting the stalled peace process.

Regarding the meeting, Abu Yousef said: "So far the US administration has not submitted any political plan about how to return to negotiations."

He told Quds Net that going to the UN Security Council to submit a draft resolution on ending the occupation of Palestinian state lands occupied in 1967 within a specific timeframe is the best strategy for ending the occupation, based on the resolutions of international law and the relevant rights charters.

Abu Yusuf said: "We do not believe that there is any possibility for negotiations with the Israelis under a biased US sponsorship, as the negotiations would result in nothing but buying more time for Israel to deepen the occupation. Our Palestinian people and their factions are fully aware that the negotiations are useless and will not lead to anything."

Spokesperson for the US State Department Jennifer Psaki earlier announced that Kerry would be receiving a Palestinian delegation on Monday headed by Erakat for talks about "the way forward" in the stalled peace process, as well as to discuss the situation in Gaza and ways to "reduce the tensions in Jerusalem".

During a telephone conversation over the weekend with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kerry emphasised the necessity of maintaining the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the importance of refraining from taking provocative actions in occupied Jerusalem. He also distanced himself from the derogatory comments about Netanyahu that were recently made public ​​by senior officials in the Obama administration.

Before talking to the Israeli side, Kerry had conducted a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during which he stressed the need to avoid any actions or statements by the Israeli and Palestinian sides that would inflame the situation.

The latest tensions in occupied Jerusalem, which started months ago, escalated last Wednesday after the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick, one of the leaders of the extreme right wing in Israel, and the killing of a Palestinian who was suspected of this attack. Israel subsequently announced the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque to avoid further clashes, in a move that was seen by the Palestinians as "a declaration of war".

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