Palestinians Reject Compromise to Restart Peace Talks with Israel

The Palestinian Authority rejected compromise terms that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined for restarting peace talks with Israel, The Times of Israel reported today.

The Palestinian Authority refuses to resume negotiations with Israel without Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 borders as the basis for talks and of East Jerusalem as the future Palestinian capital, a PA spokesman said on Tuesday, nixing a reported bid by Jerusalem to resume talks aimed at defining the borders of settlement blocs.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh was responding to comments attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini last week, in which the Israeli premier said his government was willing to define the boundaries of the main settlement blocs, within which construction would be allowed. …

“Nothing relating to final status issues can be segmented or postponed,” Abu Rudeineh said in a statement published by official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “The basis for any negotiations must be recognition of the 1967 borders, Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state… along with a complete halt to settlement [construction] and the release of the fourth group of [security] prisoners jailed before Oslo.”

An earlier report in the Times characterized Netanyahu’s terms for renewed negotiations with the Palestinians, which would involve territorial concessions and the delineation of boundaries between Israel and a Palestinian state, as “a marked departure from his long-held stance.” Netanyahu made his proposal for the renewed peace talks in a meeting with European Union High Representative Frederica Mogherini last week. Citing the Israeli daily Haaretz, the Times reported that “Mogherini was ‘very satisfied’ with her meeting with Netanyahu and defined it a success.”

American-sponsored peace talks ended last year when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept a framework agreement presented by the United States, signed fifteen international agreements in an effort to achieve achieve statehood outside of bilateral negotiations (the premise of the peace process since at least 1993), and then announced a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas, which rejects Israel’s right to exist.

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