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Palestinian official says PA ready for Kerry visit

UNESCO visit cancelled after PA ‘politicization’

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21 May 2013 (All day)
Palestinian official says PA ready for Kerry visit

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told a UN committee in New York on Monday that he supports the efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to resume negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and denied that the PA was making future talks conditional on pre-conditions, declaring that Israel was obligated to release Palestinian prisoners and freeze settlement construction regardless of anything else. "We have no conditions to resume negotiations," Erekat said. "Make no mistake we are exerting every possible effort in order to see that Mr. Kerry succeeds. Today in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem ... I can sum up the situation with one word - apartheid. Worse than that which existed in South Africa."

"We want to give a chance to all nations who have a common denominator of achieving two states on the 1967 lines," Erekat continued. "There is a chance, there is a good opportunity now."

Erekat’s remarks came after officials in Ramallah had expressed skepticism over Kerry’s planned trip to the region later this week.

“There is a very serious effort going on to restart the talks,” an Israeli official said. “We sincerely hope the effort will succeed, and we hope the Palestinians will be a partner in the process. For years, the Palestinian side has been calling on the US to play a more active role, and to be more active in bringing the sides together to move the process forward. Now that the Americans are actually doing that, surely they deserve better than these types of cheap comments.”

"We want the Palestinian Authority to know that peace talks are the only game in town." Justice Minister Tzipi Livni added Tuesday during the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.

In related news, a planned visit to Jerusalem’s Old City by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was cancelled at the last minute by Israel on Monday because the PA had “politicized” the delegation, according to an Israeli government statement.

“The delegation as a delegation has been postponed,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said. “The Palestinians violated all the agreements we had with UNESCO: that this was to be a purely professional, not a political visit.”

“The visit of the UNESCO mission is a preface for the victory of Palestinian and Arab diplomacy,” the PA’s Ministry of Information in Ramallah said.

Click here for a report on the Palestinian strategy of ‘Popular Resistance’ against Israel (PDF)


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