Palestinian negotiator: no talks with Israel without a Palestinian state deadline

The condition laid down by Ahmed Qureia, chief Palestinian negotiator, Tuesday Oct. 30 – Israel must first accept a deadline for establishing a Palestinian state – has brought the US-sponsored peace conference close to a mission impossible. debkafile reports that Qureia was reacting to the message from President George W. Bush that US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley brought to Jerusalem and Ramallah last week that no timetables would be imposed on Israel on the Palestinians for the discussion of core issues in their dispute. This message deprived Mahmoud Abbas of his trump card. He had counted on Washington standing behind his demand for a timeline in order to push Israel into a corner and subjected to combined US-Arab-Palestinian pressure.
Qureia’s counter-move was charted at a meeting in Cairo between Abbas and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak Monday, Oct. 29. If Washington and Jerusalem decline to surrender to the Palestinian condition, then both will consider not showing up at the peace conference in Annapolis and hold Israel responsible for the fiasco. They may alternatively send Egyptian and Palestinian delegations so low-ranking that the conference will lose all practical content. Saudi king Abdullah, who is on a state visit to London, has already made it clear that unless the conference is assured of substantial progress, his government will also give it a miss.

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