The Palestinian Authority will seek to restart talks with Israel next month, backed by Ramallah’s newly gained status as a nonmember observer state of the United Nations.
Palestinian neogitator Saeb Erekat told Palestinian radio that the Palestinians will look to work with international officials in going back to the table with Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported.
The two sides have not held direct high-level talks since September 2010, at the tail end of a 10-month Israeli settlement freeze. Israel says it wants talks without preconditions, but the Palestinians have demanded that settlement construction stop before they engage in talks, which they say should pick up where they left off with former prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.
In an interview with Radio Palestine, Erekat said the Palestinians will demand the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails, a halt to settlement construction and an end to Israel’s control of the West Bank.
Erekat made it clear that the Palestinian leadership will allow six months only for the new drive to show results.
The Palestinians were given nonmember observer status late last month and said they would use the upgrade as leverage to push talks forward. Israel opposed the UN move and approved a number of punitive measures following the vote, withholding tax money from the PA and ramping up building permits in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including the sensitive E1 corridor east of the capital.
Despite international condemnation and pressure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is determined to go ahead with the E1 plan.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Sunday that the PA would ask the International Criminal Court in the Hague to prosecute Israel if Jerusalem continues to violate previous agreements.