by Saud Abu Ramadan
RAMALLAH, April 2 (Xinhua) -- It is obvious that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' signing on Tuesday on 15 international treaties in response to Israel's delay of releasing the final batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners, opens a new era in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, according to analysts.
Many observers, even Israeli and American officials, were ruling out that Abbas would immediately start applying to join international agencies. They were astonished after he signed on joining the 15 treaties during a meeting of his Fatah Party's central committee and Palestine Liberation Organization.
Nasser Lahham, a Palestinian analyst from the West Bank, told Xinhua that Abbas' signing on the 15 treaties was clearly a declaration that era of keeping direct U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations to an infinity is over and a new era has started.
The Palestinians want to establish a recognized independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967 with east Jerusalem as its capital. They want Israel to stop settlement building and expansion and to release Palestinian prisoners from its jails.
"I believe that the new era would need first of all a large Palestinian political struggle through the international community and also a large support of the Palestinian and Arab public opinion," said Lahham, adding "such steps in addition to a real Palestinian unity would lead to fruitful pressure on Israel."
Israel, which opposes Abbas decision, has not shown to Abbas any encouraging steps on the ground that it wants to end the military occupation, freeze settlement, or release Palestinian prisoners from its jails. Israeli officials even went far and warned Abbas that he should wait for hard consequences.
Abbas told the meeting held in Ramallah before signing on joining the treaties that the Palestinians agreed to postpone and not to call off applying to the international agencies for nine months only when Israel is committed to releasing all the 104 long- term prisoners.
In his short briefing, the 80-year-old president focused on three major stages to achieve his goals. First is to join the 63 international agencies and to sign on the 15 treaties. Second is to call for intensifying the peaceful popular protests against Israel and the third is to go for reconciliation with Hamas movement.
However, other observers and analysts disagreed with Lahham and said that Abbas signing on 15 treaties on Tuesday "was a tactic step" to exert more pressure on Israel and the United States, adding that this step "is not closing the door for the resumption of peace talks and for the U.S. efforts.
Nabil Amro, a former Palestinian diplomat and a political analyst based in Ramallah told Xinhua that Abbas decision to sign on the 15 treaties "was tactic in order to attract first the attention of the Americans and then the Israelis that his threats are not words but deeds."
Abbas also said that his step to start signing on joining international treaties "is not against the United States, but it is in response to Israel's refusal to release our prisoners," adding "I still insist on gaining our rights through peace negotiations and through the popular and peaceful resistance.
Ahmed Rafiq Awad, a West Bank-based political analyst told Xinhua that Abbas wanted in the first place to show the Americans and the Israelis that he can do many things and also Abbas wanted to exert pressure on the United States without having any intentions for escalation.
"It is clear that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are facing a real serious impasse due to the Israeli insistence to keep settlement building and the refusal to release the Palestinian prisoners, while the United States hasn't exerted any real pressure on Israel," said Awad.
Abbas had already held 39 meetings with Kerry since the start of the direct talks with Israel in late July last year. Within the last nine months of talks that Kerry was directly involved in, both Israeli and Palestinian officials had repeatedly declared that the talks achieved no progress.
Israel threatened to carry out punitive measurers against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, in case they apply to the international agencies mainly the anti-war crimes international court and sign on international treaties like Geneva Conventions.
Palestine to pursue more UN recognition
Ramallah, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that he will sign a request to join 15 UN agencies and international treaties in response to Israel's delay to release the final group of Palestinian long-term prisoners.
Abbas made the remarks during his meeting with members of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He signed one of the treaties during his televised speech. Full story
Palestinian delegation due in Jerusalem for talks with Kerry
RAMALLAH, March 31 (Xinhua) -- A high-ranking Palestinian delegation headed on Monday night to Jerusalem to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after a scheduled meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah was called off, a senior Palestinian official said.
The Palestinian delegation, including chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and head of the Palestinian security intelligence Majed Farraj, headed to Jerusalem to meet with Kerry after the latter held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the official said on condition of anonymity. Full story