The Palestinian leadership at the weekend again signaled how far we are from reaching a bilateral, final status peace agreement, the determined and ongoing efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry notwithstanding.
In a previous report, Israel Today pointed out how Israelis see control over Jerusalem as the next, and most significant stumbling block on the road to peace.
Polls over the past decade have consistently shown that an overwhelming majority of Israelis are opposed to surrendering to the Palestinians the eastern half of their ancient capital, including the Old City and its Temple Mount.
But on Saturday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that he would be signing no peace deal with Israel that didn't include explicit Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem.
When Kerry returns to the region next Sunday, "he will be told that occupied East Jerusalem [sic] is the capital of the state of Palestine, and without this there will be no peace between us and Israel," Bethlehem's Ma'an news agency quoted Abbas as telling visit Arab officials from Jerusalem.
"Unless it is mentioned clearly and marked in big fonts that it is the capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace with [Israel] and I want them to hear this," he continued.
Abbas strongly suggested that his regime is simply going through the motions in the current round of US-brokered peace talks, and has no intention of reaching a compromise agreement with Israel.
When the current count of negotiations reaches its predetermined end-date in a few months, "we are free to do whatever we want," Abbas said. "The time frame is limited and not open, and our unanimous position isn't secret."
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