Palestinians warn PA against resuming peace talks with Israel
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Palestinians warn PA against resuming peace talks with Israel

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Palestinian factions on Wednesday warned the Palestinian Authority against conducting peace negotiations with the new Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The warning came in response to a report on Channel 12 that claimed that the PA has formed a negotiating team to deal with the new government at the request of the administration of US President Joe Biden.

According to the report, the PA team will demand that Israel return to the situation that existed in the West Bank before the Second Intifada. This means that the IDF would no longer enter Area A of the West Bank to arrest Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

The PA negotiating team will also demand that control over additional areas in Areas B and C.

The Olso Accords signed between Israel and the PLO divided the West Bank into three areas of control. Area A is exclusively administered by the PA; Area B is administered by both the PA and Israel; and Area C is administered by Israel.

A senior PA official in Ramallah refused to comment on the Channel 12 report.

The official pointed out, however, that the PA has informed the Biden administration and some Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, of its readiness to return to the negotiating table with Israel under the umbrella of the Quartet, which consists of the US, Russia, European Union and United Nations.

“We believe that we can work with the Biden administration because of its positive attitude towards the two-state solution,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “The ball is now in the court of the new Israeli government.”

On Tuesday, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stressed during a meeting with Norway’s Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, the importance of “creating a serious political path that ends the occupation and leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

The talk about the possibility of resuming the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations has drawn sharp criticism from two PLO factions, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the two Gaza-based terrorist groups, are also opposed to the resumption of the peace talks.

PLO official Ahmed Majdalani said that he does not see a difference between the new government and that of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the policy toward the Palestinians and the peace process. “The Palestinians’ task now should be to expose the new Israeli government and its measures,” he added.

Tayseer Khaled, member of the PLO Executive Committee and a senior DFLP official, warned the PA leadership against “falling again into the trap of the policy of enticement to fill the vacuum and bet on reaching understandings with the new Israeli government.”

Khaled said that the report about the possible resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations reminded him of the policy of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “which was based on deceiving the Palestinians and the world by calling for the continuation of dialogue between the two parties and showing the world that a peace process is taking place under the auspices of the US.”

The PLO official warned the PA against accepting the Biden administration’s “poisonous advice,” saying that the revival of the peace process would benefit the Israeli government and “cause severe damage to the interests of the Palestinian people.”

In a separate statement, the DFLP said that resuming the negotiations with Israel “means providing the Palestinian political cover for the criminal policies of the occupation authorities.”

According to the group, “any cooperation with the occupation authorities in light of the Israeli government’s continuing policies of Judaizing Jerusalem, confiscating lands, expanding areas of settlements and preparing daily for the annexation of the Jordan Valley, is, in fact, a violation by the PA leadership of the decisions of the PLO.”

The DFLP said that “forming a team to cooperate with Israel, in response to American pressure, would mean that the PA leadership is going against the nationally agreed policies, and that it still insists on the policy of exclusivity and joining the Oslo project at the expense of the Palestinian national project. This will cause serious harm to the national interests of our people and their legitimate rights.”

The PFLP, for its part, called on the PA leadership to “abandon the illusion of returning to the negotiations [with Israel] or achieving a political settlement that would guarantee all the rights of the Palestinian people.” The PFLP, too, called on the PA to adhere to the resolutions of the PLO bodies concerning the need to suspend all ties and renounce agreements with Israel.

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