August 5, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official revealed on Tuesday that international and Arab contacts are underway to set the terms of reference for the peace process.

"There are many contacts between the Palestinian leadership and international and Arab peace players to ensure that the Palestinian demands to start direct talks will be met," Fatah official Jamal Mohaisen told Xinhua following a meeting of the party's central committee that was chaired by President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

He added that the meeting tackled the recommendation of the Arab peace committee last Thursday to go to direct talks with Israel, stressing that Israel is not ready for peacemaking, thus references for the peace process should be defined before entering face-to-face negotiations.

The United States has been pressuring Abbas to go to direct peace discussions to push forward the stalled peace process. But Abbas stressed that direct talks cannot start unless Israel freezes settlement construction and recognizes the pre-1967 borders as permanent boundaries for a future Palestinian state.

Direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis stopped when the Jewish state launched a major offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in 2008.


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