A United Nations committee on Palestinian rights today welcomed the recent decision by Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct talks with the aim of resolving all permanent status issues.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to direct negotiations starting on 2 September, following an invitation from the United States Government and a statement earlier this month from the Middle East Quartet.
“We are looking forward to a serious, time-bound, credible and comprehensive political dialogue with a clear agenda and terms of reference aimed at resolving” all permanent status issues – including the status of Jerusalem – by the 2011 target date, the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People said in a statement.
The Committee stressed that it is essential that the parties adhere to their commitments, especially those within the framework of the Roadmap, the internationally approved plan for a two-State solution in which Israel and the Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security.
To this end, it said, Israel must maintain its current partial moratorium on settlement construction, as well as dismantling settlement outposts and ending evictions.
“We are also looking forward to a sustained and vigorous engagement by the international community, extending beyond the inaugural summit, which would translate into a credible mechanism to hold the parties to their obligations, monitor progress, and ensure that the negotiating process is conducted in good faith.”
Direct bilateral talks have not been held since late 2008, but indirect, or proximity, talks resumed in May this year, with the former United States senator George Mitchell shuttling between Israeli Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas.