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Abbas: Palestine Will Resume Peace Talks If Israel Stops Settlement

Image: Abbas: Palestine Will Resume Peace Talks If Israel Stops Settlement

Mahmoud Abbas (AP Photo/Musa Al Shaer)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 06:04 PM

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded to John Kerry's speech Wednesday on the Middle East crisis, saying he is ready to resume peace talks only if Israel halts settlement construction, according to The Times of Israel.

"The minute the Israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities . . . and agrees to implement the signed agreements on the basis of mutual reciprocity, the Palestinian leadership stands ready to resume permanent status negotiations on the basis of international law and relevant international legality resolutions . . . under a specified timeframe," he said in a statement conveyed by PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat.

"President Abbas is fully convinced that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace can be reached in all core issues on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, with specified terms of reference, which can guarantee to fully end the Israeli occupation, and lead to the establishment of an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 border, living in peace and security, side by side, the State of Israel, as well as resolving all core issues, including refugees and prisoners, on the basis of the relevant international legality resolutions."

Kerry, in his 70-minute speech, demanded a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, stating it was the only answer for a path to peace.

It comes less than a week after the U.S. abstained from vetoing an anti-settlement resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council, a move the Obama administration has caught plenty of flak for from conservatives.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Kerry, calling his speech a big "disappointment" and "almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution at the UN last week."

"For more than an hour, Kerry obsessed over the issue of settlements and hardly touched on the root of the conflict – Palestinian resistance to a Jewish state within any borders," he said, per The Jerusalem Post.

GOP lawmakers also took Kerry to task on social media. 

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Kerry's speech delusional.

"Secretary Kerry's speech today was at best a pointless tirade in the waning days of a outgoing administration," McCain said in a statement.

"At worst, it was another dangerous outburst that will further Israel's diplomatic isolation and embolden its enemies."

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded to John Kerry's speech Wednesday on the Middle East crisis, saying he is ready to resume peace talks only if Israel halts settlement construction, according to The Times of Israel.
Palestinians, settlement, peace, talks
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2016-04-28
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 06:04 PM
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