Ramallah: Palestinian officials, diplomats, and analysts urged the Palestinian leadership on Tuesday to avoid the "trap" of the Middle East Quartet's proposal for the resumption of peace negotiations with Israelis.
On Thursday the Palestinian leadership including all subcommittees will meet in Ramallah to decide on the proposal by the Quartet.
"We hope the Palestinian leadership will not slip into the trap of useless peace negotiations," Jamal Zahalqah, a member of the Israeli Knesset and head of the National Democratic Assembly told Gulf News.
"There can never be a peace agreement until the Quartet puts real pressure on Israel," he added. Only a fundamental change in Israel's position could restart peace negotiations.
"The current power balance is in Israel's favor, so the Palestinians must push forward at the UN to counter balance this bias," he said.
The last time there were peace negotiations, Israel offered a Palestinian state on half of the West Bank territory, he said. Also, the condition to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" is a purposeful roadbloack Israel puts in the way of true peace negotiations. Arabs living in the 1948 areas strongly oppose this Israeli demand. Palestinians are pushing for a democratic not a theocratic state based on religion.
The Palestinian leadership fully regjects the Quartet proposal, according to Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee. "Unless the propsal makes terms of reference and meets the Palestinian demand of halting colony construction, it is impossible to restart negotiations," he told Gulf News.
Abu Yousef said that the Palestinians have already secured the required nine votes at the UN Security Council where the vote will take place.
On Thursday's meeting of the Palestinian leadership, he said, there will be a response to the Quartet proposal and a review for the various scenarios should the US veto against recognizing a Palestinian state.
Hani Al Masri, a Palestinian Political Analyst told Gulf News that the chances that Palestinians would return to the peace negotiations are extremely dim. "It is extremely difficult and almost impossible for the Palestinians to restart the peace talks with the Israelis without the Quartet proposal meeting their demands," he said. Netanyahu told the PBS that the Palestinians were once again making a terrible mistake by not returning to the negotiating table.
"I implore the Palestinians to take this opportunity and make peace, for God's sake," he said. Netanyahu admitted that he refuses to go back to the 1967 borderlines despite the US President Barak Obama's endorsement in this matter. Commenting on the right of return for Palestinians to Israel, Netanyahu said "in the event that Israel agrees to flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians, we will have two Palestinian states ultimately, Palestine and this Palestinized Israel."