Palestinian Authority cedes fundamental rights to Israel

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has admitted conceding fundamantal Palestinian rights in return for a resumption of “peace” talks with Israel.

In a speech to members of his Fatah faction in Ramallah on 2 September, reported by the Israeli news website Ynet, he said he had conceded to US pressure not to lobby international institutions, presumably including the International Criminal Court, in return for the Americans committing to negotiations based on a two-state solution in accordance with the 1967 borders and for Israel agreeing to release a fraction of the Palestinian prisoners it holds.

Israel holds nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners and 235 children in 27 jails or detention centres, more than 100 of whom have been in prison for more than 20 years. About 200 are “administrative detainees”, i.e. prisoners held without charge, including 14 elected members of the Palestinian legislature.

To encourage the PA to resume the 20-year-long “peace” talks with Israel without the Israelis even agreeing to freeze the construction of new Jews-only squats, Israel agreed to release 104 prisoners on the eve of the talks, with a vague promise that another couple of hundred prisoners may (or may not) be released in the autumn.

In the meantime, as we reported last week,

The number of Israeli construction projects in the West Bank increased by 141 per cent in the first half of 2013.

The work that began on 1,461 homes during the first six months of 2013 surpassed the 1,089 starts registered by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics for all of 2012…

Israel has refused so far to freeze any kind of settlement activity.

In 75 per cent of cases where ground has been broken in the first half of 2013, the construction projects were in the five largest settlements – 176 in Ariel, 272 in Beitar Illit, 219 in Givat Ze’ev, 278 in Modi’in Illit and 155 in Ma’aleh Adumim, according to the CBS.

In the light of this, especially remembering that talks with Israel have now been taking place for 20 years, it’s hard to see what the PA hopes to achieve from the new round of discussions. According to the Ynet report referred to above, Abbas “estimated that the talks will take place in a timeframe of six to nine months”.

What if the result in “six to nine months” is nil? Yet more talks to shield Israel from international pressure while the building of Jewish settlements on stolen Palestinian land continues?

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