What are the Israeli-Palestinian peace talk preconditions?

The Quartet is hoping to once again bring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table, but peace talk preconditions are proving to be a problem. What are the two parties’ requirements for getting talks started?

Palestinian Authority: Settlement freeze

Ammar Awad/Reuters
A construction vehicle works on a construction site in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghnei.

Palestinians’ insistence that Israel halt all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before peace talks begin is not a new proposal. It was a precondition the last time Netanyahu and Abbas attempted to get talks under way. Israel agreed to a 10-month freeze, but it was almost over by the time the two leaders finally began negotiations in September 2010. Building resumed at a vigorous pace when the construction freeze expired and the US dropped its pressure on Israel for an extension of the freeze.

Israel maintains that settlement activity has no bearing on the peace process because all territory is up for negotiation when talks resume. But the Palestinian Authority insists that the expansion of the Israeli settler population to more than 300,000 in the West Bank alone has prejudiced the borders of an eventual Palestinian state, not least of all because the evacuation of such a large population is seen as impractical. It also maintains that the construction is a violation of prior agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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