Elior Levy
March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki pleaded with the Israeli government Tuesday to return to the negotiations table "before it's too late."

In a speech given at a peace convention in Tel Aviv University, al-Maliki said that "Abu-Mazen is the most moderate leader and it'll be a shame if we miss this opportunity." However the minister warned that "If we don't reach an agreement by September, Abu-Mazen will resign. If that happens, we'll loose all hope for peace."

Al-Maliki analyzed the recent Mideast political changes and claimed they will have a negative effect on Israel if no breakthrough will be reached with the Palestinians in the near future.

The Palestinian foreign minister discussed Egypt and stated his belief that following the elections in the country the Egyptian regime will be less favorable towards Israel - no matter what leaders are chosen. Al-Maliki stressed this is an important reason for Israel to push for a breakthrough in the peace talks prior to the elections so as to avoid creating a very anti-Israel atmosphere.

'Push for breakthrough'

According to Al-Maliki, seeing as how the two-state solution is no longer in play and renewal of talks seems farfetched, the PA has decided to try and obtain international recognition. "This move was intended to signal to Israel that we do have other possibilities – one of which is international recognition of a Palestinian State."

Al-Maliki said that the PA continues in its efforts to obtain recognized from other countries, but admitted this move is only meant to be a symbolic one without real implications in the field. He added that if talks resume between Palestinians and Israel, and keep going beyond the September due date, the PA would prefer to continue talks rather than pursue their attempt to obtain recognition from the United Nations.

The Palestinian minister addressed the IDF attack in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, which killed four Palestinians. He said he expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn this incident just like Netanyahu had asked the PA to condemn the Itamar massacre.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian government has submitted its resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over a month ago and in the upcoming days Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is expected to present the new government. It is unknown whether al-Maliki will continue to serve as foreign minister.


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