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PLO seeks 'comprehensive' peace deal, rejects interim period

Nov. 11, 2013 11:38 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 13, 2013 11:02 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO negotiator and Fatah Central Committee Member Muhammad Shtayyeh said Monday that the PLO is not prepared to accept an interim peace deal with Israel and is pushing for a "comprehensive" agreement.

"In the absence of political will from the Israeli side to take the negotiations seriously, we believe that it is better not to reach a deal than to reach a bad deal, meaning an agreement based upon Israeli colonial ambitions rather than upon internationally accepted principles of international law," Shtayyeh said in a statement.

The PLO negotiator said that ongoing settlement building in Palestine is a clear sign that Israel is not interested in reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.

"They show no seriousness and deliver the message that Israel is using negotiations only as a tool to avoid international pressure, while on the ground it continues its colonization plans rather than peace plans."

The PLO is seeking a "comprehensive and final agreement that provides the requirements of justice for Palestine," he added.

Last week, Israel's top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper said Kerry had realized the talks will not result in a deal within nine months and was working on a proposal for an interim agreement to be presented to the two sides early next year.

"Washington is secretly preparing a document aimed at reinvigorating the increasingly faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks," wrote Yediot's Alex Fishman, describing it as "an American compromise" between Israel's insistence on an interim agreement and the Palestinian demand for a final status deal.

He said the idea emerged from an Oct. 23 meeting in Rome between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

US officials denied the existence of any plan for an interim agreement, insisting that Washington is still hoping to broker a comprehensive peace deal.

PLO officials have long ruled out an interim agreement, pointing to the repeatedly missed deadlines of the Oslo process in the 1990s which had an original interim period of five years.

Kerry arrived in the region last Tuesday for meetings with both sides amid growing indications the US-brokered peace talks that resumed in late July are on the brink of collapse.

Since peace negotiations began in July, Israel has announced plans to build thousands of homes in illegal settlements located in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

AFP contributed to this report
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