Mofaz, Abbas to meet in Ramallah


(JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, but a leading Palestinian negotiator said it should not be seen as a renewal of stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abbas and Mofaz are scheduled to meet Sunday at Abbas’ offices in Ramallah.

"I do not know what Mofaz will bring with him, but it is not going to be negotiations," Saeb Erakat told Voice of Palestine Radio, according to Haaretz.

High-level Israeli-Palestinian talks have been on hold since October 2010, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend his unilateral 10-month moratorium on settlement expansion in the West Bank. The United States and other governments have urged a return to the dialogue without preconditions while criticizing settlement building.

Mofaz had asked for the meeting prior to his bringing his Kadima Party into Netanyahu’s coalition last month, according to Haaretz. 

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is engaged in national unity talks with the Fatah faction headed by Abbas, has called on Abbas to cancel the meeting with Mofaz, Haaretz reported. The meeting would give "the occupation [Israel] opportunities for committing more crimes against our people," the newspaper reported a Hamas spokesman as saying.

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