Heated Jerusalem peace talks end in impasse
Published today (updated) 03/04/2014 12:25
JERUSALEM (Ma'an - Independent Palestinian news agency) -- A long and heated
meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Jerusalem ended early
Thursday without any signs of bringing both sides back to the negotiating
Palestinian sources told Ma'an that the nine-hour meeting with US Special
Envoy Martin Indyk was attended by PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, Head of
Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj, and Israeli negotiators Tzipi Livni
and Yitzhak Molcho.
The sources described the meeting as a "fierce political battle", with
Martin Indyk struggling to control heated exchanges between both sides.
Erekat reportedly told the Israeli side that "we are here to negotiate in
the name of the UN-recognized State of Palestine, not in the name of a
Palestinian Authority whose inputs and outputs are controlled by Israel."
Israeli negotiators responded by threatening to put "endless" sanctions on
the Palestinians, the sources said.
During the heated exchanges, US special envoy Martin Indyk reiterated his
support for Israel's security.
Majid Faraj responded by stressing that the Palestinians were there for
"political, not security" talks and to negotiate about Jerusalem as the
future capital of an independent Palestinian state.
Erekat responded to Israeli threats of sanctions by saying the PLO would go
after Israeli officials as "war criminals" in international institutions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday
as peace talks appeared to have reached an impasse over Israel's refusal to
A day earlier, Abbas said he had begun steps to join several UN agencies and
ratify international treaties after Israel failed to release a final group
of pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners.
The announcement was a blow to Kerry's frenetic efforts to resolve the
dispute over Palestinian prisoners and find a way to extend the fragile
peace talks beyond a looming April 29 deadline.
In July, the PLO agreed to postpone accession to international bodies in
exchange for the release of 104 Palestinians prisoners jailed before the
"Since Israel failed to release the last group of prisoners, the State of
Palestine is no longer obliged to postpone its rights to accede to
multilateral treaties and conventions," the PLO said in a statement
"Despite the escalation of oppressive Israeli policies such as the killing
of Palestinian civilians, settlement construction, raids on vulnerable
communities, arbitrary arrests and detentions, home demolitions and the
removal of residency rights, we remained committed to the negotiations
process and supported US efforts," it added.