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Any talks with Israel must be time-capped: Palestinian president

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) is seen during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss a French initiative in the Egyptian capital Cairo, on May 28, 2016. ©AFP

The Palestinian president has rejected the idea of open-ended talks with Israel, saying any future negotiations with the regime in Tel Aviv should have a time cap.

Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that if an upcoming Paris conference succeeds in re-launching the long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, it must include mechanisms for the proper implementation of its potential resolutions.

Abbas, who was speaking to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, called for a monitoring committee to be formed in the June 3 Paris gathering to oversee the possible agreements in the talks.

The Palestinian leader and allies in the occupied West Bank have welcomed France’s initiative to hold an international conference, which aims to kick-start a new round of so-called peace talks between Israel and Palestinians more than two years after the two sides left the negotiating table.

The Tel Aviv regime, has, however, rejected the French initiative, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeating his previous statements about the need for direct negotiations without preconditions which, he says, are the only way to reach a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Israel’s continuous defiance of international calls for pulling out of the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) is viewed as a major reason behind the failure of previous initiatives.

The latest round of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, which was organized by the United States, collapsed in 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend the Paris meeting along with foreign ministers from more than two dozen countries.

Abbas further said a future Palestinian state must have East al-Quds as its capital, and that it should be established within the borders that had existed before the 1967 Middle East War.

Israel captured the East al-Quds and the West Bank during that war, and has continued ever since to expand its settlements on those occupied territories despite an international ban on the issue.

A partial view taken on May 23, 2016 shows the East al-Quds (Jerusalem) Israeli settlement of Har Homa (TOP) from the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem. ©AFP

“When we need to demarcate these borders, we will be prepared to accept a slight exchange of territory,” Abbas said, rejecting Israeli proposals that under any future deal, the regime would maintain a military presence in the West Bank or on the border with Jordan.

He reiterated that the Palestinians would never recognize a “Jewish” state as Netanyahu has demanded, adding that the talks should also lead to the release from Israeli jails of all Palestinian prisoners.

The French plan for the resumption of peace talks comes amid renewed tensions in the occupied territories, where Israel has intensified its crackdown on the Palestinians since a wave of anti-Tel Aviv protests erupted there last October.

Palestinians says Israel has a covert plan to change the status quo of a highly-revered religious compound in East al-Quds.

More than 210 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, with Israel claiming most of them attempted or managed to carry out deadly attacks on Israeli troops and settlers.

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