Friday, November 27, 2009

Palestinians Balk At Renewed Peace Talks

Several days ago, under pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a 10-month freeze in West Bank settlement construction as a concession toward restarting peace talks. But now, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says - that's not enough.

Abbas says the construction halt is meaningless because the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem continues.

His remarks, delivered in Venezuela, are sure to be viewed by the Israelis as back peddling from an opportunity to reengage in talks - and an insistence in pre-conditions - something the Israelis find unfathomable.

The PA, which Abbas represents, is supposed to be the more moderate of the Palestinian entities. Those who favor a two-state solution had hoped that even as Hamas, which controls the Gaza, remained entrenched in its refusal to talk, negotiations could, at least, be moved forward with the PA.

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