In the past few days several misleading reports have come from Israeli media outlets, predicting the outcome of the upcoming meeting between Secretary John Kerry and President Abbas. The Palestinian position is clear and is consistent with both the United States’ and the international community’s positions. Following is a media brief which clearly explains the Palestinian position towards resuming negotiations.
What Is Needed for the Resumption of Credible Negotiations?
In the coming days, President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman to talk about the stalled peace process. The Palestinian leadership has supported Secretary Kerry’s initiative and expressed, on several occasions, their confidence that Secretary Kerry’s intentions are genuine. Unfortunately, the Israeli government continues with policies on the ground that contradict and prejudice the very outcome of negotiations, while Israeli officials and members of the ruling coalition have made a number of clear statements reaffirming that the Israeli government are not serious about the two-state solution, or a just and lasting peace.
The Palestinian position has been always consistent with the United States and the rest of the international community towards ending the conflict. Palestinians have fulfilled their obligations from prior agreements and thus have shown their commitment to credible negotiations.
Moreover, the PLO has done everything it can to further political process- beginning with the painful acceptance of a state over a mere 22% of historical Palestine and ending with the recent reaffirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative.
It is highly important to distinguish between negotiations as a process leading towards a defined end-goal and the negotiations process as an end goal in itself. Mr. Netanyahu’s calls for the resumption of the negotiation process “without preconditions”, as he puts it, is an illogical statement- the “preconditions” to which he refers are actually necessary parameters in order to ensure the credibility of the negotiations process. Otherwise the process acts only as a smokescreen behind which Israel can continue its project of colonization within the occupied State of Palestine, in gross violation of international law and previous agreements.
"Look at the government: there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution… if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it."
Israel Deputy Defense Minister (Danny Danon)
"The idea of a Palestinian state reached a dead end. There has never been so much time invested in something so pointless…We should build, build, build.”
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and Minister of Religious Services (Naftali Bennett)
Such declarations have been ratified by PM Netanyahu, both by repeatedly failing to take action against the statements issued by members of his government denouncing the two-state solution, and also by encouraging settlers to live illegally and continue living illegally in the Occupied State of Palestine. A few days before Secretary Kerry’s visit to the region, the Israeli PM visited a school in the settlement of Barkan, located in the Salfit district, several kilometers into the Occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli Occupation Forces shut down the Palestinian National Theater, Al Hakawati, in Occupied East Jerusalem, preventing a children’s festival from taking place.
These provocative and oppressive actions form an integral part of the Israeli government’s agenda, an agenda which undermines Secretary Kerry’s efforts at every level and takes us further and further from a just and lasting solution to this conflict.
The formula for the resumption of meaningful negotiations
The PLO is well aware that any eventual solution must be reached through a negotiated settlement and is committed to finding a just and lasting solution to this conflict. However it is vital, that this negotiated settlement be based on clear parameters, which includes the 1967 border as a starting point and the fulfillment of prior obligations.
Resumption of negotiation requires a cessation of all settlement activities in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as stated in the “Road map”. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that settlements constitute a war crime, it is simply illogical to expect negotiations to take place while Israel continues to destroy the prospect of the very solution that those negotiations are supposed to reach.
To resume negotiations, Israel must be committed to the same end-goal as Palestine and the rest of the world, the two-state solution on the 1967 border. Returning to negotiations without this basic premise would be an injustice to our people and to all those in the international community who have invested in resolving this conflict.
For further more information please refer to our recent factsheet titled: Six Questions for Resuming Negotiations