Door still open for peace talks with Israel: Palestine

Ramallah, March 23: Despite flaring violence in the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah party decided Saturday to give the US-sponsored peace talks with Israel a chance until its ultimatum ends in April.

A statement issued after a Fatah Central Committee meeting held here and chaired by Abbas said it doesn’t want to close any door or window for the efforts of rescuing the peace process until the Palestinians peacefully gain their legitimate rights, Xinhua reported.

The statement, published by the Palestinians state-media was contrary to earlier Palestinian political powers and factions on Abbas to withdraw from the peace talks and stop all types of security coordination with Israel.

Their appeal was made in the wake of an earlier Israeli army force raid on the northern West Bank refugee camp of Jenin and killing three militants.

“The Palestinian leadership is committed to keep the talks with Israel until its nine-month ultimatum ends in late April,” said the statement, adding “we will exert every possible effort to succeed the U.S. efforts made to rescue the peace process.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry managed last July to directly bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiation table.

“We stick to peace as a choice and this means that we want to reach a peace agreement that guarantees a full Israeli army withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967 including east Jerusalem,” said Nabil Abu Rdineh, an aide to Abbas.

Rdineh, also spokesperson of Fatah, said the central committee adopted the same position and stressed that Israel must be committed to the release of prisoners, who were detained before Israel and the PLO signed Oslo accords in 1993.

IANS