The Palestinians are stressing that they will not enter into lengthy negotiations with Israel: Fatah official Nabil Shaath said Saturday that Palestinian leaders are in agreement over the Quartet's proposal for the resumption of peace talks. Shaath said there are major differences between the current announcement and statements issued in recent months.
The Quartet's recent statement does not mention a settlement construction freeze, but does note the Road Map. Shaath claims that the fact that the Quartet has decided that both sides will have to interpret the statement as they see fit – without outlining any concrete steps – is the reason that negotiations have been going on for two decades and may be the reason why they stall again.
"The international community must take harsh and clear steps to point out the terms of negotiations and take harsh steps against those who violate them; but we, the Palestinians, are the only ones being punished when we break the terms," he said.
The Fatah official described the proposal as "very vague" and called for clear terms: "If the Quartet does not want clear terms it means it has given up on the Road Map and UN resolutions 242 and 1515."
He further said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interpreted the Quartet statement one way while the Palestinians interpreted it as dropping the demand for a settlement construction freeze. "Israel's statement about plans to build 1,100 housing units in Gilo effectively abolished the Quartet statement.You can read the rest here.
"We do not intent to accept this statement unless Netanyahu accepts it publically as we understand it. Netanyahu must immediately suspend settlement construction, including that for natural growth."
He insisted on explicit statements to that effect from Netanyahu himself and said that if both parties would be left to interpret the statement themselves negations will take another 20 years.
"Netanyahu must tell his people that he is freezing settlement construction so that talks based on 1967 borders and land swaps can commence. He must do this for the future of the people in Israel, not for the Palestinians."
Once again, the Palestinians prove to us how much they want peace. By saying that Netanyahu must interpret it however they want, they are not taking the step forward towards peace and arriving at a mutually agreed upon decision.
What has Netanyahu done for peace? Not much. Besides for removing dozens of checkpoints and roadblocks, and installing a 10 month settlement freeze in the hopes that Abbas would resume peace talks. That's called taking a step in the direction of peace.
The Palestinians can go on and on about how much the settlements are the obstacle to peace. At the end of the day, the facts on the ground are:
- Terrorism against Israel (or more correctly, the Zionists in the British Mandate of Palestine) started since the 1920's.
- That means there was terrorism before 1967 - before any "settlements."
- Both the 1948 and 1967 war, which were meant to destroy Israel, were before any "settlements."
- Israel uprooted all their settlements and their own citizens from Gaza. As a "thank you," the Palestinians from Gaza launched 5,000 rockets at Israel, and then condemned Israel for taking measures during Operation Cast Lead. Hamas has launched approximately 12,000 rockets so far since Israel disengaged from Gaza.
- Netanyahu created a 10 month settlement freeze for Judea & Samaria (the West Bank). He asked that Abbas resume negotiations during this time period. Abbas failed to do so.
Perhaps the Quartet should've been more specific. But the Palestinians could've taken that step towards peace, and they could've allowed Israel to build in neighborhoods in Jerusalem - which aren't even settlements. It's something regular that Israel does all the time - East Jerusalem is part of Israel, and Israel builds in Israel.
Or they could've asked the Quartet to clarify what they meant, or discussed it with Israel, instead of saying "It's not clear so we'll just abandon it."
It's a pretext to avoiding negotiations. Plain and simple.
The PLO doesn't want a two state solution. Nabil Sha'ath - the same person in this article - has said that before, as seen in this short video that I made here. When will people finally listen to their words?