Daniel 9:27 Covenant coming into focus!
Arab League agrees in principle to direct Israeli-Palestinian talks
League stipulates conditions for direct peace negotiations: clear timeframe, specific reference terms, monitoring mechanism.
The Arab League has agreed in principle to endorse direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as long as the Palestinians agree to hold them, the Qatari prime minister said on Thursday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking with Qatari PM Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on July 29, 2010
Asked whether the league would back direct talks, Hamad bin Jassim said: "Of course, there is agreement, but agreement over the principles of what will be discussed and the manner of the direct negotiations."
It would be up to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to decide whether to hold talks, based on whatever conditions he sees fit, Jassim said.
Jassim added that he was "full of doubts" about Israel's seriousness regarding final status negotiations.
Qatar heads the Arab League committee on the peace process.
Abbas was in Cairo Thursday, attending the Arab League meeting aimed at deciding whether to add the organization's weight to U.S. and Israeli pressure for face-to-face talks.
Abbas is under strong U.S. and European pressure to restart direct talks that were frozen in 2008. The U.S. has for the last few months been mediating indirect negotiations between the two sides, but the Palestinian leader said he would only move toward direct talks if Israel agrees to a complete halt in settlement construction and accepts a Palestinian state in territories seized in the 1967 Six Day War - the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
"When I receive written assurances [about] accepting the 1967 border and halting the settlement [building], I will go immediately to the direct talks," Abbas was quoted as saying in remarks reported by Egypt's state-owned news agency Thursday.
The Arab League also outlined three conditions, saying any future round of talks would be the "final phase" of negotiations.
In a letter addressed to the United States administration, the league said (1) it needed a clear timeframe, (2) specific reference terms and (3) a monitoring mechanism in order to support such direct talks.
"I assure you I am not of the intention to enter into negotiations, without a time frame, without clear references and without monitoring," Arab League chief Amr Moussa said at a press conference in Cairo.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a response to the Arab League announcement saying that he was ready to begin direct peace talks in the coming days. "By way of direct negotiations," he said, "a speedy peace agreement can be achieved."