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Presidential aide: France, Britain proposing talks initiative

Dec. 19, 2012 2:33 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 24, 2012 10:41 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Britain and France are proposing a new initiative to resume negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday.

The joint proposal will be presented to the US to help push for new talks, presidential legal aide Nimir Hamad told Ma'an.

He said the initiative did not have a specific time frame but would have a concrete terms of reference, without elaborating.

Britain has been pressing the Palestinian leadership to return to talks with Israel since before the UN vote to admit Palestine as a non-member state last month, Hamad said.

He reiterated Abbas' position that he will not return to talks without a freeze on expansion of illegal settlements, and Israel's acceptance of the 1967 borders as the starting point for talks.

The last peace talks collapsed in 2010 after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month partial settlement construction freeze.

This week, Israeli officials said they would press on with plans to build 6,000 new settler homes on Palestinian land.

Hamad said that the Palestinian government will go to the UN Security Council in order to prevent Israel from implementing its new settlement plans. If this does not work, the leadership will head to the International Criminal Court to put an end to settlement expansion, he said.
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