Israel-Palestinian talks useless without US pressure: Syria

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DAMASCUS: Syria’s official press warned on Sunday that the resumption of direct US-brokered Israel-Palestinian peace talks would prove a waste of time unless Washington puts pressure on its Israeli ally.

"If the American administration has no intention of exercising real pressure on Israel, and if the (Middle East diplomatic) Quartet doesn’t have the ability (for pressure), then the negotiations have no sense," said Tishrin newspaper.

The government daily said Israel must implement international resolutions and stop settlement building in the occupied West Bank and annexed mostly Arab east Jerusalem.

"What’s the point of resuming negotiations that will end either with failure or with an agreement worse than Oslo?" it asked, in reference to the 1993 autonomy accords signed by Israel and the Palestinians.

The pro-government Al-Watan daily was even more skeptical, saying Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas had agreed to the talks only to please the United States.

"The president of the Palestinian Authority will begin useless negotiations which will not lead to the recovery of Jerusalem or the rights of the Palestinian people," said Al-Watan.

Abbas, it charged, had "renounced the Palestinian people in order to satisfy Washington" which it said seeks to bolster its political image "after its failure in Iraq."

Israel and the Palestinians are to resume direct peace talks suspended for the past 20 months at a US-hosted summit in Washington on September 2.

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