Ma'an News Agency
November 19, 2010 - 1:00am

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told reporters on Friday that Palestinians would not be used as a pretext for supplying Israel with weapons.

Commenting from the Jordanian capital, Abu Rudeina said the Palestinian position on the matter of the US-Israel deal for an extension to the settlement freeze was clear.

"We have nothing to do with the deal," he said, referring to a package offered by the United States to Israel, allegedly involving the transfer of a number of F16 fighterjets to the Israeli airforce and the promise of a US veto over any attempt by Palestinians and Arab states to bring the matter of a two-state solution before the United Nations.

"We will not be a pretext for the United States to give weapons to Israel," he added.

In Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a speech at the Technion Institute of Technology that talks with the United States over the deal were continuing "in order to reach understandings which will advance the peace process," Israel's daily newspaper Haaretz quoted him as saying.

"If I were to receive a proposal that advances peace and also preserves Israel's interests, primarily security, I will bring it before the cabinet and I have no doubt the other ministers will approve it," said Netanyahu.

Echoing the words of his spokesman in a newspaper interview published on Friday, President Mahmud Abbas said he refuses to link the troubled Middle East peace process with a US offer of additional military aid to its Israeli ally.

"We refuse to allow the offer of planes be linked in any way to a freeze on settlements," he told the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

"We have nothing to do with all that. This is our position and it will not change," said Abbas, who insists on a renewed Israeli moratorium on settlement building before he returns to direct US-brokered peace talks with Israel.

"The United States is an ally of Israel and we can not prevent that," said the Palestinian president.

"But let their aid be carried out far removed from the Palestinian peace negotiations and not be used as a pretext for giving more weaponry to Israel," he said.

Direct peace negotiations resumed on September 2 but collapsed three weeks later with the expiry of a 10-month Israeli ban on West Bank settlement building.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017