PA spells out con­di­tions for peace ne­go­ti­a­tions

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - JC RE­PORTER

THE PALES­TINIAN Prime Min­is­ter, Salam Fayyad, boy­cotted a planned meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu on Tues­day.

The meet­ing, which was the first high-level con­tact be­tween Is­raeli and Pales­tinian rep­re­sen­ta­tives since talks in Amman broke down nearly three months ago, was con­vened so that the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity could de­liver its con­di­tions for a re­newal of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

In­stead of Mr Fayyad, the PA was rep­re­sented by chief ne­go­tia­tor Saeb Erekat and the head of the in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, Am­jad Farej, one of Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas’s clos­est ad­vis­ers. No of­fi­cial rea­son was given for Mr Fayyad’s ab­sence but Pales­tinian sources ex­plained that he did not want to at­tract in­ter­nal crit­i­cism by meet­ing the Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter on Pales­tinian Prisoner Day.

At the meet­ing, the Pales­tinian del­e­ga­tion de­liv­ered a let­ter from Mr Ab­bas de­mand­ing that Is­rael com­mit to hold­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on the ba­sis of the pre-1967 borders and freeze all set­tle­ment build­ing.

I f Is­rael does not ac­cept the con­di­tions, the PA will see it­self free to make de­ci­sions as a sov­er­eign state. Is­raeli of­fi­cials be­lieve that the PA is af­ter an in­ter­na­tional “al­ibi” that will al­low it to re­sume its at­tempts to gain uni­lat­eral recog­ni­tion of an in­de­pen­dent state from the United Na­tions.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, the two sides is­sued a joint state­ment say­ing that “Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans are com­mit­ted to reach­ing peace” and that Mr Ne­tanyahu’s emis­sary, Yitzhak Mol­cho, will de­liver Is­rael’s an­swer in two weeks to Pres­i­dent Ab­bas in Ra­mal­lah.

The Is­raeli cab­i­net is over­whelm­ingly against agree­ing to a sec­ond freeze on set­tle­ment build­ing and its an­swer is ex­pected to in­clude the gov­ern­ment’s pro­pos­als for fu­ture borders and se­cu­rity ar­range­ments be­tween the two states.

PHOTO: FLASH 90

Erekat meet­ing Ne­tanyahu this week

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