Abbas, UN Membership and Peace Talks - by Stephen Lendman
Washington and Israel pulling out all the stops to block Palestinian UN membership.
Globetrotting to enlist UN membership support, Abbas told Time magazine in Columbia on October 11 that he'll resume talks if Israel accepts the Quartet's proposal.
In September, Quartet members established a timeline for "realistic and serious" negotiations with no preconditions to begin in a month. They hope for comprehensive proposals within three months, substantial progress in six, and a firm deal by end of 2012.
Notably, the proposal excludes key issues, including settlements, 1967 borders, East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital, Gaza's siege, diaspora Palestinians right of return, and their legitimate elected Hamas government, among others.
As a result, it offered nothing new, is offensive and demeaning, and excludes PA demands for halting settlement construction as a precondition. Yet Abbas accepted it despite refusing earlier unless Israel agrees.
Quartet members want both sides to negotiate "without preconditions." Netanyahu agreed "with reservations." They include no freeze in settlement construction, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, and a suggested negotiation timetable.
The Quartet wants preliminary talks begun on October 23. Neither side yet agreed.