Saeb Erakat
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Kerry Reveals Agreement on Basis to Resume Mideast Peace Talks, Hamas Rejects Bid

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet in Washington within "the next week or so" after an agreement on the basis to resume peace talks.

The announcement came after he spent four days consulting the Israeli and Palestinian leadership -- and a last-minute helicopter dash to Ramallah in the West Bank.

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Palestinians Say New Settler Homes Wrecking Kerry's Efforts

Israel's decision to build 1,000 new settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem is "destroying" efforts by Washington's top diplomat to revive the peace process, a Palestinian official said on Thursday.

"We consider the recent decision of the Israeli government to build a thousand homes in east Jerusalem as effectively destroying the efforts of (U.S. Secretary of State) Kerry," top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told Agence France Presse.

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Israel Will Not Talk on Basis of 1967 Lines, Says Minister

Israel will keep refusing to negotiate on the basis of a total withdrawal from land it seized during the 1967 Six-Day War, a minister said Wednesday after the Arab League modified its peace plan.

"If Israel agrees to come to the negotiating table while accepting in advance that talks would be held on the basis of the 1967 lines, there wouldn't be very much to negotiate about," said Gilad Erdan, a minister in the security cabinet and considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Romney Hails Jerusalem as Israel Capital, Erakat Says Remarks 'Harmful to U.S. Interests'

U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's endorsement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is "harmful" to U.S. interests in the Middle East, a senior Palestinian official said on Sunday.

"Romney's declarations are harmful to American interests in our region, and they harm peace, security and stability," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told Agence France Presse.

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Arab League Backs Palestinian Plan to Upgrade U.N. Status

Arab foreign ministers have backed Palestinian plans to seek an upgrade to their status at the United Nations to that of a non-member state, Palestinian officials said.

But no decision was taken on when the application would be made, with the Arab League postponing such a decision until its next meeting in Cairo on September 5, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told Agence France Presse late on Sunday.

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Abbas to meet Clinton in Paris on Friday

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday in Paris, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.

"President Abbas will visit France on Thursday and hold important meetings with European and U.S. officials, including French President Francois Hollande and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Friday," Erakat said.

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Palestinian Negotiator Erakat Suffers Heart Attack

Veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has undergone an operation after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday, his wife and medical sources told Agence France Presse.

The 57-year-old "woke at dawn with chest pains and decided to go to the Palestine medical complex in Ramallah where he underwent medical tests," said his wife, Naama Erakat, referring to the city's main hospital.

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Palestinians, Israelis in More 'Exploratory' Talks

Palestinian and Israeli delegates met on Saturday in Jordan for a third "exploratory" meeting on the possibility of a resumption of peace talks, a Jordanian official said.

"The third meeting between the Palestinian delegate Saeb Erakat and Israel's Yitzhak Molcho began on Saturday just after 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) in the presence of Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh," the official told Agence France Presse.

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Israeli Minister Says Meeting with Palestinians 'Positive'

A senior Israeli cabinet minister on Monday said that a planned meeting with Palestinian negotiators after a 16-month pause was a positive step but should not be seen as renewal of negotiations.

"This is a positive development," Intelligence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told Israeli public radio.

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Arabs Urged to Help Palestinians Beat U.S. Aid Cut

The Arab League appealed to member states Sunday to bolster financial help to the Palestinian territories after U.S. lawmakers froze about $200 million in aid in response to Palestinians' U.N. statehood bid.

"It is necessary for the member countries of the League to increase their financial aid to the Palestinian people so they can face this threat," said Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi after talks in Cairo with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.

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