The Palestinian Authority (PA) is once again setting preconditions for any peace talks with Israel.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, on Wednesday dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement that he is willing to resume peace talks, given that he intends to build 500 new housing units in eastern Jerusalem.
He was likely referring to plans made public on Wednesday for 500 new homes in the north Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, a mostly haredi neighborhood where the building plans were the cause of Joe Biden’s criticism on his last visit to Israel.
“If Netanyahu is serious about his comments, he must announce the end of the settlements, recognize the two-state solution and agree to participate in the international peace conference that France wants to convene by the end of the year,” Abu Rudeineh declared.
Abu Rudeineh urged the international community to take a firm stance against the “settlements”, which he called “the main reason for instability” which “prevent every attempt to reach a just and comprehensive peace in the region.”
The demand that Israel accept the French peace initiative as a precondition to talks is a new one from the PA.
France’s initiative aims to convene an international peace conference by the end of the year. Israeli officials recently reiterated Israel’s firm opposition to the initiative, as Israel insists that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks with the PA, which the PA refuses.
In fact, the PA has continued to impose preconditions on peace talks, including demanding that Israel halt construction in Judea and Samaria, release terrorists from its prisons and agree to a timeline of no more than a year for talks.