Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. (AP/Amr Nabil) (AP/Amr Nabil)
Saeb Erekat

Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, as the famous saying goes, the Palestinians rejected an invitation by Netanyahu to meet for direct negotiations. 

The Palestinian leadership dismissed overtures made earlier this week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet for direct diplomatic talks.

Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), told “Voice of Palestine” Radio on Tuesday that the Palestinians reject the notion of restarting the peace talks with Israel unconditionally.

Netanyahu stated Monday that he invites Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas to meet with him at any time of his choice, responding to comments by Abbas in an interview to Israeli media last week, that if Netanyahu were to invite him, he would meet with him.

“One of the things that concerns us is our desire to advance peace. A few days ago, on Israeli television, I heard President Abbas say that if I invite him to meet, he’ll come. So, as I said this morning to an American Congressional delegation, I’m inviting him again,” Netanyahu stated while meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek in Jerusalem.

“I’ve cleared my schedule this week. Any day he can come, I’ll be here,” Netanyahu challenged Abbas.

“In case the meeting is held, Netanyahu should first announce an end of settlement [Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria], release prisoners arrested before [the] signing [of the] Oslo peace accords in 1993 and recognize all the signed peace treaties between the two sides,” said Erekat, according to the Chinese Xinhua news agency.

He insisted that “If Netanyahu doesn’t do this, there will be no resumption of negotiations,” adding that “in relation to incitement [to terrorism by the Palestinians], we know how to respond to it.”

Erekat accused Israel of waging “a comprehensive war” against the Palestinians, which includes a demolition of homes, lands confiscations, holding bodies of Palestinian terrorists and breaking into Palestinians’ holy places, essentially becoming part of the incitement he claimed he could contend with, and which has caused the death of 33 victims and wounded hundreds in six months of Palestinian terror attacks.

By: United with Israel Staff

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