Senior Palestinian officials known to be close associates of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have come out against peace talks with Israel, saying that under current conditions they won’t see an independent state created in the next 20 years.
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In interviews over the weekend, Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO's executive committee, and Tawfik Tirawi, a senior Fatah official, called the current peace talks futile and said they would not even produce the framework agreement U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working to secure.
Tirawi appeared on Al Mayadeen, a Lebanon-based TV channel, where he said that, under current conditions, a Palestinian state would not be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the next two decades.
"Anyone who thinks there will be a state is sorely mistaken," Tirawi said. "The negotiations won’t lead anywhere." He also said that Palestinians would not accept Kerry's framework deal.
Tirawi called for the Palestinian leadership to return to the path of resistance. "We must go back to initiating and become part of a circle of action," he said. "If we become part of this circle, many things will change. I'm talking about all kinds of resistance, but within a unified Palestinian framework that is agreed to by all sides in Fatah and factions outside of it. As part of our plan, we will choose the correct form of resistance and act accordingly."
Abed Rabbo echoed Tirawi's sentiments in a separate interview published over the weekend in a Palestinian monthly magazine. He said no Palestinian leadership can accept Kerry's formula for a framework deal, which he says is vague when it comes to issues important to Palestinians and detailed regarding Israeli concerns.
"Israel revealed its cards during the talks, and all the illusions that existed in the beginning have since drowned at sea," Abed Rabbo said, adding that Israel wants to erase any element of Palestinian sovereignty.
Abed Rabbo claims that Israel wants to complete constructing the separation barrier so that it encircles a future Palestinian state from the east, refuses to accept any Palestinian refugees and wants to retain sovereignty over Jerusalem.
He also said that Israel wants to maintain settlements that exist outside of large blocs while also maintaining Israeli citizenship for their residents. He said zero progress has been made in peace negotiations thus far and that it would be pointless to extend them.
According to Palestinian reports, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Majed Faraj, the head of Palestinian intelligence services, were expected to head to Washington this week for talks with Kerry. Erekat recently blamed Israel for undermining the talks by announcing additional construction in the settlements and for increased settler attacks against Palestinians and their property – including damaging the Al-Aqsa mosque.
"We will tell the Americans to pressure Israel to stop its policy of aggression against Kerry's efforts," Erekat said. "Otherwise the entire process will collapse."