Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top presidential adviser, said he hopes U.S. envoy George Mitchell can bring about what he called "a real peace process" that would halt all settlement construction. Mitchell is expected in the region soon in his latest attempt to bring the sides back to the negotiating table.
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a 10-month halt to new construction in West Bank settlements as a step toward restarting Mideast peace negotiations.
The Palestinians swiftly rejected the plan because it did not include a building freeze in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, the sector of the city they want as the capital of a future state, and because it would not apply to some 3,000 homes already under construction.
"Netanyahu's declaration yesterday doesn't signal any intention of Israel to go through a genuine and serious peace process because it doesn't include a serious settlement freeze," Abed Rabbo said.
He said a "genuine peace process" must include a complete settlement freeze and guarantees that future borders be based on the lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Netanyahu says such matters must be resolved in negotiations.
"We believe that Mitchell can continue his efforts to have a real peace process," he said.