Palestinians to call for international peace conference

Ramallah: Palestinians will call for holding an International Peace Conference to resolve the conflict with Israel, no matter who wins in the Israeli parliamentary elections, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Saleh Ra'fat, executive committee member in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), told Xinhua news agency in an interview that the PLO would call for holding an international conference, even if Yitzhak Herzog of the Zionist Union wins.

"The aim of holding the conference is to resolve the conflict in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy," said Ra'fat, adding that the PLO executive committee would announce the call on Thursday. He said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would chair a meeting of the PLO executive committee in Ramallah on Thursday to study the implementation of the last decisions of the PLO Central Council.

The PLO Central Council had made two weeks ago a series of decisions, mainly halting security coordination with Israel in the light of Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenue dues.

Asked about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements that there would be no Palestinian state and Jerusalem would not be divided, Ra'fat said "his (Netanyahu) statements are good to show him undermining peace".

The PLO official said he was confident that the Palestinian Arabs inside Israel "will go on heavily to the polls to respond to Netanyahu and (Avigdor) Lieberman to vote to the Arab common list". He said the common Arab list of Knesset members would get up to 15 seats in the Israeli parliament to prevent the return of Netanyahu to form a new government.

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