Peace talks are proving pointless: senior Palestinian

4 September 2013 12:57
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are proving pointless and will not bear fruit without much greater pressure from Washington, a top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday, reports Daily news. In the most damning Palestinian assessment to date, Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the negotiations, which kicked off in late July after a three year hiatus, had made no progress. "These negotiations are futile and won't lead to any results," Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio. An Israeli official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office declined to comment on the remarks, saying the two sides had agreed that only the United States should speak about the talks. "We are abiding by that agreement," the official said. As reported, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has given the two sides nine months to work out their differences, with meetings going on in both Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Little information has leaked about the focus of the initial talks, but Abed Rabbo said continued Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on land the Palestinians want for their future state, had undermined the negotiations. "Israel did not commit to stopping settlements and we see the continuation of the settlement policy as destroying any possible chance of (a deal)," he said. In a message marking the Jewish New Year, Netanyahu said on Wednesday that he wanted "real and enduring peace ... not an agreement that we celebrate for two minutes and then collapses". "This must be anchored on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and on our security. This is what ultimately is needed," he said. Both Netanyahu and Abbas are due to meet Kerry separately in Europe in the coming week to discuss the negotiations.