Arab League supports direct talks at Palestinian pace
The Arab League is endorsing direct talks between Palestine and Israel—but at the former's schedule.
Foreign ministers from the Arab League met in Cairo on Thursday to discuss whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should resume direct peace talks, which broke off in 2008. They eventually supported the initiative, but said that indirect talks would suffice until the timing was right.
"When I receive written assurances [about] accepting the 1967 border and halting the settlement [building], I will go immediately to the direct talks," Abbas told Egyptian news agencies.
Abbas also said that he would take assurances either directly from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or indirectly from the United States, Egypt, or Jordan, nations that have acted as mediators before.
U.S President Barack Obama pressured Abbas earlier in the week to engage in direct talks if he wanted American's help in establishing a Palestinian state, but the League said Palestinian interests had to take priority.
"The issue is not U.S. pressure, the question is what are Palestinian interests, and this is clear—they want progress with indirect talks and we support them," said an aide to the League's Secretary General, Amr Moussa.
Netanyahu said he has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state, but will not give up control of East Jerusalem, which is the desired capital of the future state.
Although he now has the support of the Arab League, Abbas continues to be under extreme stress at the moment. "I am under a kind of pressure I haven't been through all my life," he reportedly said.