PLO to assess peace process with Israel

By MOHAMMED MAR’I | ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 9, 2011 20:53 Updated: Mar 9, 2011 20:53

RAMALLAH: The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s legislative body will meet on March 16 to evaluate the stalled peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israeli and the future of the peace process, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

Hanna Amireh, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and head of its Social Affairs Department, said the urgent meeting of the PLO’s Central Council will emphasize the Palestinian stance on the peace talks with Israel.

Amireh told the Voice of Palestine Radio that the council will also discuss the latest developments in the region, needed efforts to announce the independent Palestinian state in September, the presidential and parliamentary elections, the preparation for the elections of Palestinian National Council and the national reconciliation.

The PLO official stressed “the negotiations with Israel won’t resume before the settlement constructions stop and before a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem is recognized.”

Amireh added that the Central Council will increase pressure on Israel to halt settlement construction through international accountability and questioning. He added that the Palestinians also hope that the international community would impose sanctions on Israel if it refused to halt constructions on West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements.

The US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stopped in September 2010 after Israel resumed building settlements in the West Bank. Last month, The United States vetoed an Arab draft resolution calling upon Israel to stop the settlement activities and condemning them.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority rejected the announcement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel will keep its troops on the eastern boundary of the West Bank, which borders Jordan, in any future agreement with the Palestinians.

“Without Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, a truck will be able to travel freely from Iran to Petah Tikva,” Netanyahu said during a tour in the Jordan Valley.

Without military presence in the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu continued, Israel will not be able to thwart the smuggling of arms to the territories or prevent terrorists from infiltrating.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said there would be no Palestinian state without Jordan Valley and without East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Jordan Valley and East Jerusalem “are undivided parts of the Palestinian land that has been occupied since 1967,” Fayyad said in his weekly speech on Wednesday.

The Jordan Valley makes nearly 26 percent of the West Bank, and is considered an area of silent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians due to its significance for both sides.

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