Just days after all but quitting the “Oslo” peace process by unilaterally approaching the United Nations for recognition, the Palestinian Authority over the weekend issued fresh demands of Israel that effectively killed the current round of negotiations.
The current US-brokered negotiations are scheduled to last until April 29, by which point the Americans had hoped to have a framework agreement in place. But Palestinian leaders told Palestinian media that for the talks to extend even one day beyond that deadline, Israel must meet new conditions.
According to the new demands, Israel must immediately:
- Recognize the eastern half of Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine”;
- Release senior jailed terrorist leaders;
- Lift all embargoes against Hamas-ruled Gaza;
- Allow the return of the terrorists who took over and desecrated Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002;
- Halt all building of new Jewish homes in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians (ie. Gilo, French Hill, Pisgat Zeev); and
- Stop entering Palestinian Authority-controlled areas to arrest wanted terrorists.
These demands come just day after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signed 15 treaties in a new effort to gain official recognition for Palestinian sovereignty from the international community.
Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni insisted that in so doing, the Palestinian Authority had violated its primary commitment in the peace process by seeking recognition outside of a bilateral agreement.