BEIT, SAHUR, (AFP) – A Palestinian negotiator late Saturday said the peace process with Israel was in a “deep coma” and that US proposals for resuming talks were “totally useless”.
I don’t think we are to resume the negotiations soon,” Nabil Shaath told journalists at Beit Sahur, near Bethlehem in the West Bank.
“The peace process is in a deep coma…. I don’t think anyone wants to continue this negotiation,” he said.
“There is no more credibility to this negotiation process. This is an exercise in futility, ridiculous…,” he added.
After Washington failed to obtain a new Israeli freeze on building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as demanded by the Palestinians, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed indirect talks on the basic issues.
But the Palestinians have told the Obama administration that they refuse to resume negotiations with Israel without a halt to settlement building.
“The negotiating process is totally useless without terms of reference,” said Shaath.
Faced with the impasse in peace talks, the Palestinians have begun to explore other alternatives including unilaterally declaring a state or asking for UN recognition of their independence.
Bolivia on Friday joined Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in recognising Palestine as “an independent and sovereign state” within the borders preceding Israel’s 1967 occupation.
Israel opposes the steps by the South American governments, saying they go against an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that a Palestinian state be recognised only with Israeli approval.
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives approved a measure condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognise a Palestinian state, and backing a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians relaunched on September 2 in Washington have been suspended since September 26 when an Israeli moratorium on settlement building expired.