Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat drew parallels Saturday between the recent spate of terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Europe and Israeli actions in the West Bank.
“Those who murder children in Europe in the name of religion are no different than those who murder children on Palestinian land,” Erekat said at a press conference Saturday, according to Haaretz, after a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris.
The two held a “very constructive” meeting, according to Erekat.
Erekat said Abbas told Kerry that the Palestinians were demanding a timetable for relaunching talks and another for implementing agreements, as well as international supervision, according to AFP.
“We need a timetable for restarting negotiations, a timetable for implementing agreements and an international framework to oversee any future agreements,” Erekat said.
The Palestinian negotiator also reiterated the Palestinians’ support for a French peace initiative, which Israel has rejected, calling instead for direct negotiations between the sides.
Kerry’s office said in a statement that the two had discussed “regional challenges and constructive ideas for the way forward to support our shared goal of a two state solution.”
Last year, Erekat made a similar comment about Israel and the Islamic State, telling a Rome security conference that the Islamic State will assume the moral leadership of the Arab world if Israel did not stop crushing Palestinians’ hopes of statehood.
“Ever since the beginning of Islam there have been people and organizations seeking to use the religion for their own ends. Daesh is number 803,” he said, referring to the jihadist group by an Arabic term.
“If we go down as Palestinian moderates, if we cannot deliver, mark my words, this will be the scenario,” he said at the time.”At the moment ISIS is seen as a causeless bunch of criminal terrorists. Nobody is associating with them. If tomorrow they fill the gap of me and Abbas and they start killing Israelis, who amongst one billion Arabs will be against it?”
A US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace push collapsed two years ago, and progress currently appears unlikely before President Barack Obama’s final term ends in January.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said is willing to meet the Palestinian leadership for peace talks without preconditions, but has accused the PA of inciting violence and terrorism against Israel and says the core of the conflict remains the Palestinians’ refusal to accept the legitimacy of a sovereign Jewish state.
In June, France convened a Paris meeting of world powers — without Israel or the Palestinians — to work toward organizing an international conference to reboot talks by the end of the year.
After June’s meeting, Kerry was lukewarm concerning the prospects of a conference.
The Middle East diplomatic quartet — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States — urged Israel to stop building settlements and Palestinians to cease incitement to violence in a July report that drew a frosty response from both sides.
AFP contributed to this report.