Fatah Official Reiterates Demands that Peace Talks Hinge on Settlement Freeze
by Zach Pontz
A Senior Fatah official reiterated to Ma’an News Agency Friday that the Palestinian Authority leadership is ready to negotiate with Israel if it stops building settlements and releases Palestinian Arab prisoners.
Mohammad Shtayyeh told Ma’an an end to settlement activity and the release of prisoners were a necessary precondition for the resumption of talks.
The comments were in response to a news report on Israel’s Channel 10 that said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to resume talks with the PLO within three months of forming a new government.
Israel agreed to a 10-month settlements freeze in 2009, but it was almost over by the time the two leaders finally began negotiations in September 2010. Building resumed when the freeze expired and Israel maintains that settlement activity has no bearing on the peace process because all territory is up for discussion when talks resume.