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A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
Palestinians propose peace talks after U.N. vote
Compromise » Abbas appears to soften on the Israeli settlement issue.
First Published Oct 09 2012 12:04 pm • Last Updated Oct 09 2012 12:05 pm

Ramallah, West Bank • The Palestinian president appears to be backing away from his longstanding demand for Israel to halt West Bank settlement construction before peace talks resume.

Mahmoud Abbas told European diplomats Tuesday that he will resume talks after the U.N. votes on a Palestinian request for "nonmember state" status. A vote is expected in November.

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Abbas made no mention of a settlement freeze, and officials said Abbas believes a freeze would no longer be necessary if he receives U.N. recognition of a state that includes all of the West Bank.

Peace talks have been frozen for nearly four years, in large part because of Palestinian demand for a settlement freeze and Israel’s refusal to accept it.

While U.N. recognition is largely symbolic, the Palestinians believe it will bolster them in future negotiations.




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