Last updated: 30 January, 2012

PLO blames Israel for failure of Amman talks

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Monday blamed Israel for “the failure” of five rounds of preliminary talks the two sides have held in Jordan.

“In light of the results of the Amman meetings, the PLO executive committee considers the Israeli government and it alone to be entirely responsible for their failure,” Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestinian umbrella organisation, said in a statement.

“These meetings revealed Israel’s insistence to continue settlement activities and its refusal of a two-state solution on the basis of 1967 borders,” it said.

“The position of the Palestinian leadership remains unchanged: peace negotiations must be based on the 1967 lines, a stop to settlements and the release of Palestinian prisoners.”

“The Palestinian leadership will in the next few days finish studying a series of political and practical options in order to continue the international campaign,” he said, in an apparent reference to the Palestinian quest for full UN membership, which Israel opposes.

Israel and the Palestinians have held five rounds of “exploratory talks”, which are aimed at helping the parties chart a route back to direct negotiations, which have been on ice since September 2010.

After the fifth round of talks, held in Amman and sponsored by Jordan and the peacemaking Quartet, the Palestinians said Israel had “moved not one step to enable a resumption of negotiations.”

The Quartet called on October 26 for both sides to present comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months, which the Palestinians say they have done, accusing Israel of failing to do the same.

Israel says it has laid out some of the principles on which its policy on territory and security is based, but that it considers the three-month period to have started with the first round of talks on January 3.

On Sunday both sides accused each other of undermining the talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians were stalling and refusing to discuss the Jewish state’s security concerns and a Palestinian official said the Israelis had laid out a vision for “impossible” borders.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon starts a Middle East peace mission on Tuesday, seeking to add pressure on the two sides to return to direct talks.