Egyptian initiative on restart peace process is unsuccessful: PNA former Minister

Egyptian initiative on restart peace process is unsuccessful: PNA former Minister

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 5 / Trend U. Sadikhova /

Egypt's efforts to revive the peace process between the Palestinian Authority and Israel can not be successful till concrete actions are taken to change the political course of the Israeli leadership, Former Minister of State for Jerusalem Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, Ziad Abu Zayyad, said.

"The United States can be the main lever of pressure on Israel. The United States are able to influence on change of the political course of this country. Israel could not continue its occupation of Arab territories and the construction of Jewish settlements [in the West Bank], including in Jerusalem, without U.S. support, Al Quds newspaper commentator Abu Zayyad told Trend over phone.

After a meeting in Amman with U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas went to Sharm el-Sheikh. There he held talks with the Egyptian leadership about a new initiative to revive a peace process in the Middle East, Al Jazeera Net website reported.

Details of the initiative, which is expected to be proposed by Egypt, have not been announced yet. But Al Jazeera Net wrote that it envisages the resumption of the negotiations after the guarantees to create the Palestinian state are received within two years and the construction of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories is ceased.

The information about the Egyptian initiative occurred after the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Egypt last week. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called the talks held during the visit positive, without specifying the concrete results of the meeting.

However, Palestinian lawyer, former member of the PNA Legislative Assembly, Abu Zayyad, does not consider the attempts of Egypt or the United States in resuming the peace process successful due to continued settlement policy of Israel.

Despite Israel's decision to freeze construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank for ten months, the Palestinian leadership and Arab countries refused to negotiate till the settlement activity is fully ceased.

According to Abu Zayyad, Israel will not abandon its policy till the United States and the European Union do not exert political pressure on it, which can reduce the trade cooperation with this country.

"That government in Israel, with which we deal, does not want peace. It adheres to the settlement policy. It continues to occupy Arab territories. Therefore, any attempts by the Egyptian side, and even attempts of the Palestinian leadership to support efforts to revive the peace process will be unsuccessful", Abu Zayyad said.

Such U.S. actions, as the delivery of the White House's letter to the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, are not enough. They are not able to compel Israel to adhere to the requirements of the international law, Abu Zayyad said.

"In his opinion, after unsuccessful actions the U.S administration is trying to create conditions for Cairo's actions in the peace process to be successful.

"The Palestinians want to see concrete actions to convince us that Israel is indeed moving away from its policy. President Mahmoud Abbas has no other choice yet except coordinating Arab efforts, which primarily focus on inter-Palestinian armistice between Fatah and Hamas.  However, there are no specific efforts of the Arab countries that would force Hamas to agree with armistice, Abu Zayyad said. 

According Zayyad, the ongoing conflict between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip, weakens the position of the national administration, which has no choice except cooperating with the United States.

The Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post wrote that the first phase in a new plan of the White House on Middle East settlement, to be presented in coming months, includes an immediate resumption of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis to conclude the armistice and create the Palestinian state within two years. The establishment of permanent borders, determination of Jerusalem's status, which Palestinians consider the future capital, as well as the return of Palestinian refugees will be key points in the U.S plan.

But on Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during the meeting with Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair ruled out possible setting temporal limits for the establishment of the Palestinian state.

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