Abbas: Final-status issues discussed at first round of peace talks


(JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel and the Palestinians discussed all the final-status issues in the first session of peace talks held in Jerusalem.

Abbas made his comments Thursday following a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Ramallah, The Jerusalem Post reported. The first round of talks was held the previous day in Jerusalem under a veil of secrecy.

Abbas said he hoped the talks would be concluded within six to nine months. Final-status issues are understood to be borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, security and prisoners.

“It’s premature to say whether we have or haven’t achieved something,” Abbas said. “We hope that the coming days would bring us answers that we could present to all.”

Ban, who traveled to Israel on Friday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, said in Ramallah that he hoped Israel would “create the appropriate atmosphere by halting settlements which we and the world consider illegitimate.”

He also said the Palestinians have “sincere intentions.”

But Netanyahu told Ban that the root of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians “doesn’t have to do with the settlements,” the Post reported. “That’s an issue that has to be resolved, but this is not the reason that we have a continual conflict.

“The conflict preceded the establishment of a single settlement by half a century, and when we rooted out all the settlements in Gaza, the attacks continued because of this basic opposition to the Jewish state.”

Recommended from JTA