Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas chairs a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 12, 2013
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas chairs a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 12, 2013. Abbas said Tuesday the "ball is in Israel's court" concerning a resumption of peace talks that the US is pushing for, ahead of a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas chairs a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 12, 2013
AFP
Last updated: June 4, 2013

Abbas: ball in Israel's court for talks

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Tuesday the "ball is in Israel's court" concerning a resumption of peace talks that the US is pushing for, ahead of a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Kerry is exerting strenuous efforts... to come to a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas told a news conference in Ramallah.

"I believe the ball is now in Israel's court.

"The Palestinian demands are clear, and the Israelis know them as do the Americans, so Israel must now accept them in order to begin negotiations," said Abbas.

Palestinian demands for a return to talks, which stalled in September 2010, include an end to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.

Kerry is expected in Israel and the Palestinian territories on June 13-15 for what would be his fifth visit to the region since taking office in February.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Tuesday: "All I want to do now is to focus on how to make Kerry succeed. I don't want to speculate on his failure."

Israel and the Palestinians are at odds particularly over settlement building -- a key issue that led to the failure of talks in 2010 -- especially given the ardent pro-settlement stance of some members of the current Israeli cabinet.

The visit would be the top US diplomat's first since the appointment of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah, whose predecessor Salam Fayyad resigned in April.

The United States hailed the appointment of British-educated Hamdallah, who has been described by Israeli observers as a moderate pragmatist.

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