Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Ahmed Qureia: Violence 'legitimate' if talks fail
Top Palestinian negotiator warns violence may erupt if current round of negoiations with Israel go under. 'Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right,' says Ahmed Qureia
The Palestinian chief negotiator with Israel cautioned on Tuesday that violence could erupt if peace talks collapse. "The Palestinians will continue to negotiate. But, if the talks reached a dead end, what do we do? Capitulate? Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right," said Ahmed Qureia in a message to newly-elected Kadima chairwoman, Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni.
Earlier in the day Livni met with Qureia. Livni was recently chosen by President Shimon Peres to form a new government. This was the first meeting between the two since the Kadima primaries, however Livni's office insisted it was a routine appointment.
Livni assured Qureia that peace talks will not stall while she tries to form a new coalition government. Speaking with the Reuters news agency after the meeting, Qureia said the meeting had been positive.
"It was a good meeting. Livni reassured me she would continue the peace process without accepting any conditions."
Israeli officials confirmed the meeting had taken place but gave no details.
Referring to the goal set by US President George W. Bush last November, Qureia said he had "great doubts about finalising a deal this year." He said Palestinian leaders were considering their options if talks failed to produce a deal that would lead to independence. If they lost hope in negotiations and became convinced Israel was not prepared to end its occupation, renewed attacks against Israelis were possible.
Asked whether he was saying the Palestinians might resume suicide bombings and attacks inside Israel, Qurie responded: "All forms of resistance."
On Sunday senior PA officials conveyed a clear threat to Livni. Rafik Husseini, the top adviser to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told The Sunday Telegraph that Palestinian politicians may take the drastic step of disbanding the authority if a lasting agreement is not reached during the current peace negotiations.
Such a move would mark the end of the US-backed talks launched with much fanfare at Annapolis last November, the report said, and put day-to-day Palestinian governance back in Israeli hands, almost certainly igniting fresh violence in the process.
"The Palestinian Authority is only a vehicle to achieve the interests and rights of the Palestinian people. Vehicles come and go," said the senior Palestinian official.