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Abbas rejects Israel’s new preconditions for peace talks

October 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a central committee meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 13 September 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Fatah and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that the Palestinian reconciliation is a national interest, stressing his rejection of the new Israeli preconditions for resuming peace talks, PA official news agency Wafa reported.

Abbas’ remarks, which were delivered by his aide Nabil Abu Rudeineh, came in response to the conditions announced after the convention of the Israeli security cabinet.

“The reconciliation, which was brokered by Egypt, is going in the right directions,” Abu Rudeineh said, “and any Israeli comments will not change the official Palestinian stance.”

He also said that the international community, including the United States, welcomed the Palestinian reconciliation and the return of the PA to the Gaza Strip.

Commenting on the Palestinian reconciliation, the Israeli cabinet yesterday announced seven preconditions which must be met before it would agree to resume talks with the PA.

Read: Israel Labor Party leader rejects ‘evacuations’ of West Bank settlements

“Hamas must recognise Israel and cease terrorism as per the Quartet’s terms, Hamas must disarm and bodies of [Israeli] soldiers and living Israeli civilians must be returned from Gaza,” the cabinet decided, according to the Israeli news website Ynet News.

It added: “The PA must exert full security control over Gaza, including in border crossings and smuggling prevention, must continue foiling Hamas’s terror plots in the West Bank, Hamas must disengage from Iran and, finally, only finances and humanitarian equipment from the PA will be allowed to enter Gaza.”

Meanwhile, Abu Rudeineh said that Abbas condemns Israel’s approval of 300 new settlement units in the illegal settlement of Beit El in the north of Ramallah.

He said that Netanyahu is defying the international community and the US administration which considers settlements an obstacle ahead of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.