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May-08-2010 12:40TweetFollow @OregonNews
Palestinian Leaders Will Re-Enter Peace Talks With IsraelSalem-News.com
"We understand that there are many difficulties, that there are many obstacles. But we are determined and committed to continue our efforts until that objective is reached." - U.S. envoy George Mitchell
(JERUSALEM) - Leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization have approved indirect peace talks with Israel VOA news reports today. The talks with the PLO's Executive Committee, will be the first negotiations in 18 months.
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabb, said, "The Palestinian leadership today has declared its acceptance to participate in the proximity talks."
Rabb attributes the decision to guarantees from the U.S. government.
"The United States will take a firm political position against any provocation that will affect the peace process and the negotiations between the two sides," Rabbo said.
VOA reports that the term "provocation" is a clear reference to Israel's expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This is territory that has been claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.
There is no question that the issue of settlements have remained a divisive issue, as Israel continues to construct neighborhoods in Palestinian territory, that are reserved for the fundamentalist Jews.
It is important to remember that the PLO is only one group that represents the rights of Palestinians. Hamas is the actual elected party.
It was a reduction in settlements that prompted the PLO to enter talks. But each time one settlement are is restricted, another is typically given the go ahead for building.
In Ha'aretz, U.S. envoy George Mitchell said, "It has been and remains an important objective of American policy and of President Obama and the secretary of state personally to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East." Mitchell spoke with reporters in Cairo, prior to his second meeting with Netanyahu.
He added, "We understand that there are many difficulties, that there are many obstacles. But we are determined and committed to continue our efforts until that objective is reached."
From the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came a statement confirming that he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Mitchell to continue peace talks. Haaretz also confirmed that lower-level Israeli officials are to travel to Washington this week for further discussions, it added.
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