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Palestinian leaders get backing of Arab League to abandon talks

Lieberman: \'We will not be Czechoslovakia of 2010\'

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Palestinian leaders get backing of Arab League to abandon talks

Senior Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat was working hard on Sunday to deny reports that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas would resign and/or dismantle the PA if direct negotiations with Israel fail to achieve the objective of creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Abbas has threatened to quit on several occasions if the talks collapse, most recently last week in Amman before a meeting of the PLO National Council.

Abbas was in Libya over the weekend for a meeting of the Arab League during which he reportedly discussed several alternatives to resuming the direct talks with Israel, including unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state, reaffirming a demand for Israel to cease building in Jewish settlements, and looking into the possibility of seeking to apply articles 77 and 85 of the UN Charter to demand an international trusteeship over the Palestinian territories.

During the meeting, the Arab League gave its support to the decision by Abbas to quit the talks unless the building freeze is extended, but delayed making a final decision on supporting further talks until another meeting scheduled for next month. Analysts say that the non-decision is intended to give the US a n extra month's time to convince Israel to extend the freeze. Many Palestinians expressed deep dissatisfaction with the decision, complaining that the Arab League was deliberately avoiding their responsibility to the Palestinian cause.

In related news, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave a decidedly undiplomatic message to his French and Spanish counterparts who were in Israel for an official visit on Sunday.

“I don’t expect you to solve the problems of the world, but I certainly expect that before you come here to teach us how to solve conflicts, you will deal with the problems in Europe and solve those conflicts,” Lieberman told visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos.

“In 1938, the European community decided to appease Hitler instead of supporting Czechoslovakia and sacrificed them without gaining anything,” Lieberman continued. “We will not be Czechoslovakia of 2010. We will ensure the security of Israel.”

The two European foreign ministers had meetings with several other Israeli officials during which the message was less blunt but still echoed Lieberman’s complaint that they are applying pressure unevenly and unfairly on Israel while failing to apply similar pressure to the Palestinians.


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