ABBAS SPURNS U.S. EFFORT TO REVIVE PEACE TALKS
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 1/19/10 said he refuses to negotiate with Israel without preconditions, the Associated Press reported. "No negotiations," Abbas said. "We won't agree to resume negotiations without a full settlement freeze, especially in Jerusalem, for a certain period." Abbas' rejection of the Obama administration's effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations comes as U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the unprecedented steps that he has taken to indicate his desire for peace. "The moratorium announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu on settlements is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move Israelis and Palestinians toward an agreement on the outstanding territorial issues," Mitchell said. The Palestinian Authority rejected Netanyahu's announcement, saying "Netanyahu's plan shows that Israel is not serious about peace."