Palestinian anti-normalization activists prevent peace dialogue

Talks in Cairo marred by sharp disagreements

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21 דצ' 2011
Palestinian anti-normalization activists prevent peace dialogue

Another meeting between Israeli and Palestinian activists aimed at building a dialogue and contributing to efforts to end the conflict was thwarted on Tuesday by a group of Palestinian activists who are opposed to anything associated with “normalization” between Palestinians and Israelis. The meeting on Tuesday under the banner of the “Arab Spring’s impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” was organized by the non-profit Palestine-Israel Journal and scheduled to be held at a hotel in eastern Jerusalem, but the anti-normalization activists threatened to hold a large demonstration in front of the hotel, leading organizers to indefinitely postpone it. Tuesday’s events follow a similar incident last week, in which the NGO Israeli Palestinian Confederation was forced to cancel a conference after Palestinian activists stormed their hotel, threatening staff and destroying property. Hatem Abdel Kader, a senior Fatah operative, recently announced that his faction has declared “war” on meetings aimed at promoting “normalization” with Israel that he said interferes in Fatah’s political agenda.

In related news, Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo announced on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement on the formation of a central elections commission to prepare for presidential and parliamentary votes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the meeting was marred by several negative development, including a report that several smaller factions had walked out of the meetings after Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, told them they were not entitled to a place at the negotiating table because they were not part of the PLO.

Additionally, the meeting failed to produce an agreement on a caretaker government composed of independent figures, so representatives from Fatah and the Islamist terror militia Hamas agreed to hold further talks on that issue at the end of January.

“The discussions today were very serious,” said Hamas representative Ezat Risheq. “We are moving in the right direction. There is some kind of an understanding that it’s hard to establish a government before December 26. We agreed to delay this issue until late next month.”

Finally, the Palestinian Authority signed a free trade agreement with the Mercosur trade group Tuesday during the organizations' presidential summit in Uruguay. Mercosur members include Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador. Mercosur also has a free trade agreement with Israel.


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