‘PLO to join 48 int’l organizations, treaties if talks fail’

The current round of peace talks can only continue if the U.S. changes its approach, a senior Fatah official says.


The PLO will seek membership in an additional 48 international organizations, treaties and conventions if peace talks are not salvaged by the end of this month, Ma’an news agency quoted senior Palestinian official and Fatah Executive Committee member Nabil Shaath as saying on Monday.

PLO Chairman — and PA President — Mahmoud Abbas began the process of acceding to 15 international treaties and conventions last week after Israel failed to follow through with the release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners.

Addressing prospects that the current round of peace talks could still be saved, Shaath said it would only be possible if Washington plots a new course.

File photo of Fatah official Nabil Shaath (Photo by Janwikifoto/CC)
File photo of Fatah official Nabil Shaath (Photo by Janwikifoto/CC)

“If the U.S. becomes convinced that the same approach will make no progress, then it will be possible to save the situation,” Ma’an quoted Shaath as saying. “Otherwise negotiations can’t go on.”

For the past few months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working on a framework for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. The State Department has described the document as the outlines of a final-status agreement, the details of which would be filled in during later stages of talks.

Shaath suggested that the very concept of a framework agreement enables Israel to avoid making a serious push for a final peace deal.

“Israel wants a framework for negotiations rather than a framework for a solution,” he said.

In a background briefing by a senior State Department official earlier this year, the framework arrangement was described with Rumsfeldian ambiguity:

These are not parameters, as we’d call them guidelines. They resemble the Clinton parameters in terms of our ideas in some respects, in that – in the sense that some of the ideas are more detailed than others. So there’s a kind of range between what you call principles and parameters, and we’re kind of somewhere in between because some issues require greater specificity and some issues require more general principles. So it’s a kind of fluid arrangement.

It appears the Palestinians are beginning to reject that approach.

More on the crisis in peace talks:
The rejectionist: Netanyahu and the peace talks
The hard choice facing the Palestinians
The peace process is dead, long live the peace process