Published August 23, 2013
QUITO (AFP) – Palestinians have "serious doubts" about Israel's commitment to recently resumed peace talks, but they remain committed to participating in the negotiations, the top Palestinian diplomat said Friday in Ecuador.
"We do not have high expectations of the negotiations so far because we know in advance the official position of the Israeli government," foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told reporters during a visit to Quito.
Malki stressed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has not "agreed to cease illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories," which has fueled skepticism of the peace talks.
"We have serious doubts about Israel's participation and the desire and faith that Israel shows in the negotiations, but that should not stop us from participating with our full faith and desire as Palestinians," he added.
The parties resumed long-stalled direct peace negotiations last months after a three-year hiatus, but the talks have been overshadowed by Israeli plans to build more than 2,000 new homes for Jewish settlers on occupied Palestinian territory.
Malki expressed hope that Israel would adopt a "different view" and "surprise" Palestinian negotiators.
The Palestinian foreign minister also condemned the wave of violence engulfing Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, where 42 people were killed and hundreds wounded earlier in car bombs in the port city of Tripoli.
The violence marked the single worst attack in Lebanon since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Despite the spiraling bloodshed across the region, "we are totally against any foreign intervention in any country," Malki said.