PNA seeks European recognition of statehood before September

Abu Rudeineh denies Palestinians received new peace proposals

Abbas accuses Iran of hindering Palestinian reconciliation

Spain affirms to Abbas support for Palestinian state

Israel’s foreign minister faces graft charges

President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that no peace deal could be reached with Israel until all political prisoners were released.

Abbas' comments were made in a televised address ahead of Palestinian Prisoners' Day.

The Palestinian Authority said around 6,000 Palestinians were currently in prison inside Israel and that Israel had detained over 70,000 Palestinians over the last decade.

Twelve Palestinian lawmakers are in jail in Israel, the government said in a statement.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Maxwell Gaylard expressed concern over the treatment of Palestinian detainees and insisted that "the rule of law must be applied to all of the approximately 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention, in line with international human rights and humanitarian law," in a statement from his office.

"Israel's policies and practices regarding Palestinian prisoners raise a number of concerns, including a lack of clarity on the legal status of such prisoners, the location and conditions of their incarceration, the need for access to legal counsel and representation, the issue of administrative detention, and the prevention of family visits for detainees from Gaza," the statement said.

Gaylard noted that the practice of detaining Palestinians in Israel was contrary to the Geneva Conventions, and he expressed particular concern for the plight of Palestinian women and children detained in Israel.

The PA said Israel had "systematically violated the most basic rights granted by international and human rights conventions through inhumane treatment, restrictions on movements, killings, deportation, and detention," since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

Since 1967, Israel has detained more than 750,000 Palestinians, including women and children, a government statement said.

Over 200 Palestinians have died in Israel prisons. Of these, 74 were murdered, 70 died after being tortured and seven were shot dead by prison guards, the PA said.

The longest-serving political prisoner in the world was Palestinian, the PA said. Nael Al-Barghouti has been detained in Israel for 33 years. His brother, Fakhri, is also in an Israeli prison.

Fatah Youth called on the international community to protest Israel's violations of international law, particularly its imprisonment of Palestinian children, the long-term detention of Palestinians without charge or trial, the physical and psychological torture of political prisoners and the refusal to allow Gaza residents to visit their detained relatives.

In a statement, the youth movement noted that since 1967, around 40 percent of Palestinian men living in the occupied territories had been detained by Israel.

residential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the Palestinian Authority did not receive any new Israeli peace proposal.

He told a local radio station that the United States did not notify the Palestinians of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan, which was reported in the media, regarding withdrawal from the West Bank within five years.

“The Palestinian position, as well as the Arab and international one, is that just peace comes after Israel withdraws from the land it occupied in 1967, particularly East Jerusalem, and by solving the rest of the final-status issues,” he said.

Abu Rudeineh said that Israeli efforts to move toward peace had failed and did not lead to anything. The US administration, he added, knows very well that a state with provisional borders is not acceptable for the Palestinians and the Arabs.

The Israeli government is avoiding its peace obligations which mean the region will remain unstable, he said.

He emphasized that September forms a major juncture for the Palestinian cause and the Arab people when the Palestinian people make their decision. He called on US administration to shoulder its responsibility toward Israel’s actions in the region.

The Netanyahu plan does not talk about quick withdrawal, but a long-term plan to be implemented over five years during which Israel allows the Palestinians free movement in the West Bank and facilitates living conditions that would allow economic growth.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that Iran has ordered the Islamist movement Hamas not to reconcile with its long-time foe and his secular party, Fatah.

"Until now Hamas refuses to say yes or no to the initiative" to put an end to divisions, form a new government and prepare for elections.

"Now the ball is in their court," Abbas said.

Hamas, while a Sunni Muslim organization, is suspected by Israel and the United States of being funded and armed by Shiite Iran. Tehran says that it provides only moral support to the group against their common enemy, Israel.

"If they are divided, they have one decision (that) comes from Iran. Iran instructs them to do this or to do that, not to do this or not to do that because they are paid... and for this... they obey their instructions."

Abbas said Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile in Syria, "receives the money, keeps the money in his pocket and gives it to whom he wants, keeps it from whom he doesn't want.

"For that he uses it as a weapon in his hand and he has the upper hand. He has the right to say yes or to say no.

"They (Iran) are not our friends; they don't behave as friends but they are not enemies."

Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the early 1990s.

Tensions heightened after Hamas trounced Fatah in 2006 legislative elections and boiled over in 2007, when the enmity erupted into bloodshed that saw the Islamists kick their secular rivals out of Gaza.

Since then, Gaza has been effectively cut off from the West Bank, which is under the control of Fatah, and repeated attempts at reconciliation have led nowhere.

The disunity of the Palestinians has prevented them from taking a common stance in peace talks with Israel, which are now off the table.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza and the West Bank last month to demand that the two factions end their long-running rivalry, and talks between the sides briefly looked as if they might move forward.

On March 26, Abbas and Hamas held what both sides described as positive talks on the long-elusive reconciliation.

The previous week, Abbas accepted a Hamas invitation to travel to Gaza in a bid to "end the division and form a government of independent national figures to start preparing for presidential, legislative and (Palestinian) National Council elections within six months."

Abbas, like Gaza's Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh, supported the call for unity, and urged that Hamas "not waste this historical opportunity to end the division, and to stand united against threats that severely damage our cause."

The Palestinian leader also reiterated his call for national elections as a way to end the split.

"I am with the people and in favor of going back to the people to put an end to the divisions through presidential and parliamentary elections," he said.

Hamas had previously rejected such appeals, saying it would not participate without first securing some form of reconciliation with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to cease settlement constructions in the occupied territories to resume peace talks.

He also said that Israel should commit itself to the references of the peace process, including the recognition of the goal that the negotiations should lead to a Palestinian statehood on the lands that Israel has occupied in 1967.

Abbas made the remarks as he received Spain's Crown Prince Philip, his wife and Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"The bases of peace are clear; land in exchange for peace; two- state solution and the establishment of the Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem," Abbas said.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stopped in September 2010. The Palestinians walked out of the U.S.-brokered negotiations, protesting the resumption of Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Abbas praised the Spanish support to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority.

Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, quoted Prince Philip as saying that Spain supports the peace process and the Palestinian people's right in having their independent state alongside Israel.

On the other hand, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, has been told he faces criminal corruption charges and may be indicted.

Israel's attorney-general informed Lieberman on the impending charges, according to a report on Israel's Channel Two television.

An earlier statement from Israel's justice ministry said: "The offenses on which his being brought to trial is being considered are fraud, breach of trust, receiving something by deception, money-laundering and tampering with a witness."

Lieberman, who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party, has been under investigation on a variety of charges for many years.

He has always denied any wrongdoing.

Lieberman was informed of the attorney-general's statement during a party convention in Jerusalem and at the end of a half-hour speech about Israeli domestic and foreign policy, he briefly referred to the indictment.

"I know and you know that I always acted in accordance with the law, and there is no reason for worry," he said.

"After 15 years, I finally will have an opportunity to prove that I acted lawfully."

Allegations against Lieberman centre on the transfer of millions of shekels to what police described as shell companies and accounts belonging to people close to him.

Police had also alleged that Israel's ambassador to Belarus had leaked information to Lieberman about the proceedings against him.

As a minister, Lieberman is entitled to a hearing, but if he chooses to forego the hearing he would be expected to resign his post and the case could proceed to trial.

His resignation would badly shake the cabinet of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.