Palestinian Official: Stalled Peace Talks Would Make Intifada Hard to Stop

Speaking with Army Radio ahead of planned Nakba day protests across West Bank, Fatah man Abbas Zaki says the Palestinian street will act according to how hopeful it is of achieving peace.

The Palestinian Authority would not be able to prevent another intifada in the face of stagnant peace talks with Israel, a senior Fatah official told Army Radio on Thursday.

The comment was made as officials in both Jerusalem and Ramallah urged that passions be kept in check during the three days of Palestinian commemoration of the Nakba - the establishment of the state of Israel regarded by Palestinians as a catastrophe.

Ramallah protest - Reuters - 6.5.2011

Leaders on both sides indicated Wednesday that they did not believe that Nakba events and protests would spin out of control during the days of protest declared by Palestinians.

Speaking with Army Radio on Thursday, Abbas Zaki, a senior Fatah official and member of the Fatah delegation to reconciliation talks with Hamas, said that, faced with Mideast uprisings, the Palestinian Authority would not be able to suppress popular unrest.

"The Palestinian leadership facing a [diplomatic] impasse could not quiet the Palestinian street who had watched the achievements of other [Mideast] peoples," Zaki said.

The Fatah official reiterated the danger of popular unrest in the West Bank faced with stalled peace talks with Israel, saying that the Palestinian people would "plan their efforts according to how hopeful they are."

The Fatah official said that an upcoming unity government with Hamas would honor any agreements between the PA and Israel, saying: "The government is Abu Mazen's [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] government and he is committed to reaching peace with Israel and to the Israeli partner, if such a partner be found."

With regards to future security arrangements following Hamas' inclusion, Zaki also said that all militant groups would be dismantled of their weapons, adding that the only army would be that of the Palestinian government.

Zaki also spoke to Army Radio concerning the fate of ongoing efforts to reach a prisoner exchange deal that would secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

"We are against keeping people in prisons," the Fatah official said, adding that "that is why we shall demand the release of all 5,800 Palestinian prisoners. We will welcome any exchange deal for Shalit since it its not right to make one person pay that price."