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Fatah Central Committee: No Talks Without Freeze of Settlements

Fatah Central Committee member Mohammad Dahlan has stated that no peace Talks--whether direct or indirect--will be held between Israel and Palestinians, according to the pan-Arab daily AL HAYAT Thursday. The paper quoted Dahlan as saying that the Fatah Central Committee has identified two points as "red lines" regarding the holding of peace talks. The first of these is the freezing of Jewish settlements, and the second is the recognition of past agreements between Palestinians and Israel regarding the peace process. US President Barack Obama failed to pressure Israel into suspending settlement activity with the aim of holding direct peace talks between Palestinians and Israel. Reports have suggested that indirect talks between Palestinians and Israel are to be held on Thursday and Friday with US mediation, but Dahlan's statements indirectly implied otherwise. The Fatah strongman was quoted by AL HAYAT as saying, "The Fatah Central Committee has decided that no peace talks will be held without Israel suspending settlement activity in Palestinian territories."

The second "red line" for Palestinians was the recognition of past agreements between Palestinians and Israel regarding a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. These agreements include the implementation of the 2003 roadmap, which requires Israel to end settlements.

Dahlan also stressed the importance of Palestinian factions reconciling their differences. Fatah and Hamas have been deeply divided since 2006, when the latter won parliamentary elections and forcibly ousted the rival Fatah forces from the Gaza Strip 18 months later. After Israel's recent 22-day onslaught on Gaza in January, Egypt has tried to mediate reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas. These talks, however, have so far proved fruitless. AL HAYAT quoted Dahlan as arguing that a unified Palestinian stance towards the peace process would have much more weight in peace talks rather than the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority on its own.

In a separate report, the London based daily AL HAYAT said US Special Envoy to the Middle East former Senator George Mitchell met with an Israeli delegation on Wednesday. The two sides discussed the Mideast peace process and Mitchell is now set to meet a Palestinian delegation in Washington before moving back to the Middle East for additional talks.
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Title Annotation:Regional Report
Publication:The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Oct 2, 2009
Previous Article:Lebanon-economy.
Next Article:Egypt-Mideast.

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