Israel in Peace Talks Despite Abbas Threats

Jerusalem, Jan. 9 – Senior Palestinian officials cast a large shadow over the latest talks with Israel taking place in Amman today. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned he would take “tough measures” if the parley failed.

“Israel does not want serious negotiations,” said Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Yasser Abd Rabbo.

The Israelis have called for a successful outcome in their public statements on the Jordanian-chaired meetings, the first of which took place last week.

The Israelis say further meetings are planned, while the Palestinians say they are considering once again turning to the United Nations in a bid to gain recognition there.

The Middle East peace Quartet, which is brokering the peace process, has repeatedly urged the Palestinians not to go down the unilateral route but gain statehood via negotiations. The Quartet comprises Russia, the United Nations, European Union and United States.

Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a key policy speech on June 14, 2009 embracing the two-state solution, he has repeatedly called on the Palestinians to enter peace talks without preconditions.

“We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just get on with it. Let’s negotiate peace,” Netanyahu said at United Nations headquarters in New York in September 2011.

However, the Palestinians are demanding Israel make several concessions prior to any direct negotiations.

Israel insists it is prepared to discuss all issues during face-to-face talks.

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