Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are proving pointless and will not bear fruit without much greater pressure from Washington, a top aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said today.
In the most damning Palestinian assessment to date, Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the negotiations, which kicked off in late July after a three-year hiatus, had made no progress.
“These negotiations are futile and won’t lead to any results,” Mr Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio.
“I don’t expect any progress at all unless there is huge and powerful American pressure, such as the one we are seeing from America to deal with the Syrian issue,” added Mr Abed Rabbo, one of just two officials authorised by Mr Abbas to discuss the talks.
An Israeli official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the remarks, saying the two sides had agreed that only the United States should speak about the talks. “We are abiding by that agreement,” the official said.
The US State Department said on Sunday that Israeli and Palestinian delegations had been meeting continuously since direct talks resumed on 29 July, adding that a US envoy had taken part in one of the encounters.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has given the two sides nine months to work out their differences, with meetings going on in both Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.