Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will seek clarifications concerning Israel’s position on the resumption of Mideast peace talks as soon as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns from his North American visit, Palestinian officials said on Sunday.
Palestinians to demand Israeli steps ahead of peace talks’ renewal, PA official says
According to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, Abbas will be sending a letter in which he will claim that Israel, as opposed to the PA, was not fulfilling its obligations under current agreements.
Al-Malki indicated added that the missive would also clarify the steps Israeli is required to take for negotiations to resume, adding that the Palestinians would decide whether or not to renew talks depending on the Israeli response.
However, the Palestinian FM added that PA officials estimated that Israeli would try to play down the letter, delay its response and would settle for making a few comments.
Al-Malki added that the PA was still waiting to the United Nations Security Council response concerning the Palestinian request to send representatives to the Palestinian territories in order to evaluate the situation.
Abbas updated the Arab League of his intention to send the missive last month.
Late last month, Netanyahu harshly condemned Abbas for a speechgiven at a conference in Qatar in which the PA president claimed that Israel was "trying to erase the Arab, Muslim, and Christian nature of Jerusalem."
"This was a speech of severe incitement coming from the mouth of someone who supposedly claims that he seeks peace," a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.
"The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality. Since thousands of years, Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Under Israeli sovereignty, Jerusalem will continue to be open to members of all faiths. There is complete freedom of worship for everyone and Israel will continue to devotedly protect the holy places of all religions."
"Abbas knows well that there is no foundation for his allusions, including the baseless claims regarding the al-Aqsa mosque. Israel expects that someone who seemingly stands for peace will prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not spread lies and incitement."
In his speech, Abbas compared Israel’s control of Jerusalem to the Roman and Crusader occupations of the city. Abbas cast doubt on the existence of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and accused Israel of trying to harm the al-Aqsa mosque. He also called on Muslims from around the world to come to Jerusalem.