CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab League nations yesterday endorsed a resumption of negotiations on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, raising hopes that indirect talks brokered by the United States could revive the stalled peace process.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa told reporters after a meeting of Arab officials in Cairo that the regional body would back indirect negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli officials.
“The timeframe of indirect talks will not change from what was agreed to in March, and there will be no change from indirect talks to direct talks until after the outcome of indirect talks has been assessed,” he said.
Arab League backing is key if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to risk opposition from Palestinian hardliners backed by Syria and Iran and embrace negotiations that have been on hold since the three-week Gaza war began in December 2008.
Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told Reuters the condition for Arab League support would be a halt of settlement activity in the West Bank. “If Israel builds one house in the West Bank, Palestinians will immediately stop the negotiations.”