GAZA (Reuters) – The Palestinian Authority on Friday rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s new and seemingly softer terms for restarting peace talks, saying he should drop all conditions for dialogue.
Sharon, proposing what he called a test for a new Palestinian leadership, said on Thursday it could show its desire for peace by ending anti-Israeli “incitement” even before the crackdown he has long demanded it launch against militants.
Sharon had said anti-Israeli propaganda in Palestinian schools and media was as dangerous as Palestinian weapons.
“I don’t intend to waste time and my plan is to find any way, when the new Palestinian leadership is ready to open talks, to begin to advance our relations with the Palestinians,” Sharon told his right-wing Likud party on Thursday.
He said in addition to dismantling militant groups and collecting weapons, the new Palestinian leadership could show its willingness to make peace by ending “constant poisonous incitement and propaganda” in its media and education.
Asked about Sharon’s remarks on incitement, Palestine Liberation Organization leader Mahmoud Abbas told reporters: “Maybe we have issues of this kind, but they (the Israelis) have them to a greater extent,” and suggested the two sides discuss the matter should negotiations resume.