Conflict & Justice

Mideast peace talks stalled PLO says


A masked Palestinian youth flashes the 'V' for victory sign during clashes with Israeli forces following a weekly demonstration against Israeli settlement expansion, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on October 7, 2011. ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images


Abbas Momani

The Middle East peace process has stalled and the international community faces a "real test" to achieve a two-state solution, a prominent member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization has said.

The United States' refusal to support the Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership has in part contributed to a widening gap between the two sides and doubts over their ability to go back to negotiating, Hanan Ashrawi said, Xinhua reports.

Israel and the Palestinians had declared their commitment to resuming the peace talks - after six decades of conflict - but is now faced with "failure of the world's diplomacy to resume it," Ashrawi said, Xinhua reports.

The International Quartet is facing "a real test and it has to carry out active and tangible steps to give the political process credibility in order to achieve the two-state solution and establish the Palestinian state," he said.

Ashrawi's comments come as Jewish settlers stepped up their "price-tag" campaign against Palestinians in the West Bank and attacked Israeli troops for the first time in living memory, The Australian reports.

The "price tag" campaign refers to Jewish settlers attacking Palestinians as punishment for their bid for UN membership.

Abdul Majid Sweilem, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that "Palestinian observers and officials almost agree that in this stage, the Quartet is living its final days amid its failure to help achieve peace in the Middle East," Xinhua reports.

Representatives from the International Quartet for the Mideast peace were due to meet in Brussels on Sunday after agreeing last month to resume the stalled peace talks with a view to a permanent agreement within a year.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stopped a year ago, just four weeks after launching in Washington, because Israel refused Palestinians' demands to stop construction of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Xinhua reports.