PA Chief Negotiator: Israel Sabotaged Talks, Pushing Toward 'Apartheid Regime'

As nine-month period for negotiations ends, Abbas reiterates that there will be no peace with Israel without defined borders of a future state.

AP

With the nine-month period for U.S.-brokered negotiations ending on Tuesday, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Israel actively sabotaged talks, using every opportunity to consolidate its "apartheid regime."   

"To build settlements in occupied land, kill Palestinians and demolish hundreds of Palestinian homes is certainly not the behavior of a government that wants to end occupation but of a government that wants to turn occupation into annexation," Erekat said, according to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency.

Erekat added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used "every possible tool in order to consolidate its apartheid regime."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, said Tuesday that there would be no peace with Israel without the definition of borders of a future Palestinian state.  

"Since the creation of Israel, nobody knows what the borders are. We are determined to know our borders and theirs, without that there will be no peace," he said, according to AFP. 

Abbas laid out his conditions for returning to the negotiating table with Israel after the current round of talks, which started in July last year, ended in crisis.

"If we want to extend the negotiations there has to be a release of prisoners ... a settlement freeze, and a discussion of maps and borders for three months during which there must be a complete halt to settlement activity," he said. 

Regarding the recent reconciliation agreement with Hamas, the Fatah leader said that highest on the agenda after the formation of the new government would be setting a date of elections for the presidency, the parliament, and the Palestinian National Council.   

Abbas, who was speaking at a conference for establishing a special fund for support for Jerusalem, said that as far as the Palestinians are concerned, East Jerusalem is an Islamic and Christian Arab city, and the capital of the Palestinian state. He said that the decision of the United Nations General Assembly in November 2012 confirms this position, despite the fact that to this day Israel denies this fact and refuses to recognize the status of Jerusalem for the Palestinians.

The Palestinian leader declared he would allocate a million dollars to the budget of the Palestinian presidency for the special fund. He called on conference participants, which included businessmen and representatives of Arab countries, to initiate projects in order to guarantee a Palestinian hold on East Jerusalem.