Palestinian negotiators resign from peace talks over Israeli settlements, lack of progress
Palestian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Wednesday that his group of negotiators in the peace talks with Israel had resigned due to continued illegal Israeli settlement building. (AFP/File)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that his peace negotiators had resigned from the peace process with Israel after no progress had been made in the US-brokered talks.
The negotiations had been repeatedly belittled by Israel's continued settlement building on occupied territory across Palestine, Reuters reported.
Officials from both camps have repeatedly told the media how little headway has been made in the talks, but the resignation of the Palestinian side would mark a new low in the negotiations which started in July after a three year hiatus.
In an interview with Egyptian CBC television, Abbas suggested the negotiations would continue even if the Palestinian delegation stuck to its decision, Reuters reported.
"Either we can convince it to return, and we're trying with them, or we form a new delegation," the Palestinian President said.
According to Reuters, it was unclear from Abbas's interview when exactly his negotiators had quit, but Abbas said he would need about a week to resume the talks.
In a statement to Reuters TV on Wednesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat did not elaborate on the report of his resignation, but said told the media that all upcoming talks with Israel had been frozen.
"In reality, the negotiations stopped last week in light of the settlement announcements last week," Erekat said.
Since the peace talks were resumed in July, Israel has unveiled multiple plans for settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.