Palestinian negotiator skeptical over peace talk’s fate

By Xinhua

Ramallah : Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday questioned the possibility of keeping on peace talks with Israel in the wake of a violence surge.

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“The Palestinian Authority (PA) can’t accept to continue the negotiations while the aggressions and settlements are going on …they are two lines that can never meet,” Erekat said.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams had met three times since Dec. 12 of 2007 after the U.S.-hosted peace conference relaunched the stalled peace process.

But Erekat said the negotiations had not particularly started because the meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiation crews had focused on stopping the Israeli attacks and the expansion of settlements.

“The talks will not start under the Israeli aggression,” said Erekat, a long-time Palestinian negotiator and confident of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He slammed Israel for launching a series of deadly raids in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which had left more than 20 people dead since Tuesday.

“By keeping on the aggression, Israel puts an end to the political process and imposes its violent agenda in advance,” Erekat said.

Israeli forces backed by tanks and bulldozers killed 17 Palestinians and wounded 45 others in an incursion into the Zeitoon neighborhood on Tuesday in eastern Gaza City.

Two more Palestinian militants were killed on Tuesday evening in an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, medics and witnesses said.

Earlier on Wednesday, three Palestinian civilians were killed and five wounded in an Israeli airstrike at a car that was driving in the eastern part of Gaza City.