The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive committee and the Fatah central committee approved the resumption of proximity talks with Israel in a three hour meeting on Saturday in Ramallah.
Both agreed to participate in the proximity talks with a majority of votes, the member of the executive committee of the PLO Yasser Abu Rabbu confirmed in a press conference after the meeting.
“The decision was made in order to give the peace process and the efforts of the U.S. another opportunity” Mr. Rabbu said, adding that “the U.S. guarantees offered to the Palestinians were the main reason” to support the start of the proximity talks.
Specifically, the guarantees include that the U.S. would “take a firm political position against any provocation that will affect the peace process and the proximity talks,” Mr. Rabbu said.
“Provocations” meant Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the remaining Palestinian territories.
Palestinians say that the indirect talks should focus in the status of Jerusalem and the Jewish settlement in occupied territories in order to make a clear definition of the borders.
Israelis and Palestinians need to agree in those core issues of the negotiations in order to open direct talks. The proximity talks would last for four months and only after the sides would consider to start negotiation face to face.
Proximity talks would be the first between Israelis and Palestinians in 17 months since peace talks were suspended in December 2008.
The Islamic Hamas movement, which has had control of the Gaza Strip since 2007, on Saturday urged Palestinians should reject the “absurd proximity talks” with Israel.
Such talks would only “give the Israeli occupation an umbrella to commit more crimes against the Palestinians,” Hamas said in a statement.