Snag in Israel-PA Peace Talks

July 29, 2013  

Israel has agreed to all demands, but a major faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization has just balked against holding talks with the Jewish State.

It is not clear whether the PLO requires a unanimous vote, or whether the majority rules in deciding whether to proceed with direct final status talks with Israel, or not.

After a three-year hiatus, negotiations were set to resume in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, with two representatives from each side to meet at the table for direct talks, supported by the U.S.

But the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called the initiative a “unilateral move” by Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The PFLP claimed the agreement to negotiate did not have unanimous backing from the entire PLO, since its own faction rejects the move.

“The PFLP is against a return to negotiations,” underlined Khaleda Jarar, one of the faction’s leaders. “It is an individual move,” she said, referring to the fact that Fatah, the PA’s largest and leading faction, is headed by Abbas. 

“These talks will be presided over by the United States, just like Oslo 20 years ago,” objected Jarar, referring to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. 

“We went to the U.N. precisely to take our case out of U.S. hands.”

The objection was a reference to the unilateral application by the PA at the United Nations General Assembly for non-member state observer status, an upgraded status that de facto granted sovereignty to the PA entity. It was strongly opposed by both the U.S. and Israel, but was successful, after the previous year’s membership bid at the U.N. Security Council failed.

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