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PLO Top Official: U.S.-Sponsored Bilateral Negotiations are no Longer Acceptable | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinians wave national flags | REUTERS

Ramallah – Palestinians will not accept to return to the direct U.S.-sponsored bilateral negotiations, after Washington has proven not to be an impartial mediator, according to Member of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Wasil Abu Yousef.

Abu Yousef told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that they now demand international guarantees within a time-frame that ensures Palestinian people receiving all their rights, including a state with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

“Other than that, we won’t return to the vicious circle of U.S.-brokered bilateral negotiations. We want to end the occupation and protect our people’s rights, not return to negotiations for the sake of negotiating,” said Abu Yousef.

The official’s statement come after U.S. President Donald Trump had a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump expressed his support for the direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis, and described it as the only solution for peace.

Palestine is seeking international involvement in the negotiation, similar to those in the “5+1” talks that solved Iran’s nuclear case.

Prior to any meeting, Palestine conditions ending settlement expansion and the release of the fourth group of Palestinian detainees as previously agreed. But Israel refuses and has pushed new settling plans.

Palestinian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Israel’s approval to build hundreds of new settlement units.

In a statement issued, the ministry strongly denounced the remarks of the ruling right wing in Israel, headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who openly brags upon his support to the establishment of settlement units.

“The ministry confirms that these settlement operations come in the context of pre-planned schemes aimed at the Judaism of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, undermining any chance of establishing a Palestinian viable and sovereign state alongside the State of Israel. These plans come in the framework of the Israeli occupational strategic bid aiming at resolving the final status issued by one party, in addition to specifying Israeli-Palestinian conflict solutions in accordance to Israeli interests,” added the statement.

The ministry also expressed its belief that the Israeli government, headed by Netanyahu, began creating obstacles to challenge the American President Donald Trump administration’s efforts to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

“In the middle of unrealistic Israeli propaganda stating that the international atmosphere became proper to continue establishing more settlement operations and land confiscation, emphasizing an official Israeli anticipation and a crude attempt to impose the Israeli vision and stance disregarding Trump’s administration,” according to the statement.

The ministry thus considers the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2334 crucial for it insures the reopening of fruitful gates and serious peace negotiations.

Abu Youssef said that this statement means the current state peace had ended, and marks the beginning of a new phase.

Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened that they’d withdraw recognition of Israel if it keeps refusing to reciprocate and if Washington moved its embassy to Jerusalem.