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Palestinian political conflict with Israel grows amid active Arab diplomacy

English.news.cn   2012-12-27 22:00:43            

RAMALLAH, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The political conflict between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel has grown on Thursday as an official high-ranking Arab diplomatic delegation, headed by Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, is scheduled to arrive in the West Bank on Saturday.

Official Palestinian sources said on Thursday that al-Arabi heads the delegation, which includes Arab foreign ministers, to back the PNA following the Israeli punishing measures were taken right after the UN upgrade of the Palestinian representation to a non-member observer state.

The sources added that in addition to al-Arabi, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and Jordani Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh will join the delegation to visit Ramallah on Saturday for several hours and hold talks with President Mahmoud Abbas as well as other PNA officials.

Reyad al-Malki, the PNA minister of foreign affairs, told " Voice of Palestine" Radio that the Arab delegation would fly from Jordan by a Jordanian helicopter to avoid passing by Israeli army checkpoints.

"The delegation contains two Arab foreign ministers in addition to al-Arabi," al-Malki said. "There will be more Arab visits to the West Bank in the future and will include more Arab foreign ministers."

The visit of the delegation came after a scheduled visit of the Qatari Emir Hamad Ben Khalifa al-Than early next week was postponed. Al-Malki said that the visit was postponed till next month, "because the Emir of Qatar has some other commitments."

The visit of the Arab diplomatic delegation to Ramallah is so important to the Palestinians which comes one month after the United Nations upgraded the Palestinian representation to a non- member observer state.

King Abdullah II of Jordan was the first Arab leader to visit the West Bank right after the UN upgrade, while Israel amid the growing visits of Arab leaders and diplomats, increased its settlement in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and decided to build 6,000 houses during December.

The Palestinian officials considered the Israeli decisions to increase settlement in the Palestinian territories as an Israeli action that undermine the remaining opportunities to achieve peace based on the two-state solution.

Following the UN upgrade, Israel held the tax revenue dues it collected on behalf of the PNA and transferred to its treasure. Israel collects every year 1 billion U.S. dollars from the Palestinian export and import and pays it back to the PNA, which uses the money to cover its monthly running costs.

The Arab diplomats are scheduled to discuss with the Palestinian officials the Arab League Committee decision to pay on monthly bases 100 million dollars to the PNA as a pledge to help it facing its severe financial crisis it has been going through over the past several months.

The Arab diplomats will also discuss forming an Arab delegation headed by Qatar to hold consultations in the coming months with the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia, China and the European Union on a mechanism of implementing the 2002 Arab League peace initiative.

The new initiative, according to Palestinian officials, aims at exerting pressure on international parties to rescue what had remained in the Middle East peace process, push Israel to halt settlement and prepare for the resumption of the peace talks which had stopped in October 2010.

Meanwhile, Abbas on Wednesday revealed that there was a new initiative declared by European efforts to resume the talks in 2013. A senior Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, quoted Abbas as saying that European countries like Italy, Spain and Britain were involved.

Wassel Abu Yousef, a member in Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Xinhua that the Arab mechanisms "are unable so far to face Israel's plans in the Palestinian territories," adding that "unfortunately, the Arab states are unable to face the United States' pressure on them."


Editor: Lu Hui
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