Israeli-Palestinian talks likely to remain stalled over preconditions

Monday, August 16, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Just a day after headlines declared that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was ready to succumb to American pressure and return to the negotiation table with Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned both the Palestinians and international community against setting preconditions.

Israeli government officials told The Jerusalem Post that Netanyahu remains firm in his opposition to preconditions that will prejudge the outcome of final status peace talks.

Netanyahu is believed to have tacit American support for his position, as Washington has been pressing Abbas to stop setting obstacles in the way of resuming direct negotiations.

However, the Middle East Quartet, of which the US is a part, is expected to release a statement in the coming days calling for certain preconditions to be met - in particular an indefinite extension of the Jewish settlement freeze, and a recognition that Jerusalem should be divided - before talks can start.

Naturally, the Palestinians are going with the Quartet version of how events should play out, and are in turn pressing the Obama Administration to get on board with the rest of the international community in that regard if it wants to see a resumption of negotiations.

Israel's self-imposed 10-month settlement freeze is scheduled to expire on September 26.

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