Palestine says that it doesn’t want to see peace talks with Israel fail, however, if Israel fails to live up to their commitments they no longer see any reason to stick to the rules laid out by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Conversely, Kerry says that the United States is seriously “evaluating” its role in the talks, signaling that the State Department is losing patience with both sides lack of coöperation with each other.
“It’s reality check time,” Kerry said in a press conference in Morocco. “It’s not and open-ended effort, it never has been,” he said. Kerry went on to say that the United States will continue to monitor the situation and see where it is going, however remaining optimistic claiming that all the time he spent in the Mideast wasn’t in vain. However, Kerry did note that he can not continue to spend most of his time in negotiations with Israel and Palestine if neither of them are willing to make even small concessions to one another.
The peace talks took a turn for the worse when Israel announced that they would not release Palestinian prisoners as promised because of Palestine’s effort to apply to 15 UN treaties. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat stated that Palestine has applied to 15 treaties, but there are still 48 that they have yet to sign. He further stated that if Israel does hold up their end of the bargain and release the remaining prisoners that Palestine will not sign the remaining 48. “We have nothing to lose,” Erekat added.
Israel’s number one concern is that Palestine will join the International Criminal Court and levy lawsuits against Israel and the Israeli army for building settlements in the West Bank.
Ekerat did say, however, that the talks are not dead and that it is up to the Israelis to make a step towards progress, and showed signs of sympathy to the US, saying, “We want to avoid the crash, we don’t want to undermine the American’s efforts.”
However, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid was quoted as saying that Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ actions in the past 24-hours have not been conducive in wanting to continue negotiations, saying that they, “Raise serious doubts about whether he is really interested in continuing negotiations,” and went on to say that Abbas’ demands are what is hindering the process and that Israel will not negotiate with him for any price.
Although talks have hit a snag, neither side has said that they are going to stop negotiations, and a source close to Palestinian negotiators signaled that the Palestinians are still committed to the April 29th deadline. The negotiations started in July of last year and had a nine month timetable set forth bu Secretary of State John Kerry. Although it seems now that the grandiose plans Kerry had are now scaled down significantly, neither the US, Israel or Palestine have given up and both sides are committed to making a deal. And although both sides are still committed to the April deadline, Kerry stated that, “We are not going to sit here indefinitely.”
By Nathaniel Pownell
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