Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
stressed on Sunday that no agreement had been reached on the issue of
land swaps, telling Likud ministers that US Middle East envoy George
Mitchell had yet to approach the Israeli
government with such a proposal from the Palestinian side.
The prime minister's remarks came in response to a statement by Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that the Palestinians
and Israel have agreed on the principle of a land swap. Abbas said that aside from the initial agreement in principle,
the two sides had not reached any further agreement in this regard.
‘Extent of land
exchange in dispute’
issue of the ratio of land Israel would give to the Palestinians in
exchange for keeping settlement blocs has long been an issue of dispute,
with the Palestinians demanding that the ratio be 1:1, and Israel
Israeli officials, however, refused to discuss the
content of what is being talked about with the Palestinians.
public discussion of the content will make progress much more
difficult, and we want to make progress,” one official said.
Mitchell presents PA leadership with 'verbal, legal questions'
speaking to reporters in Ramallah while participating in a campaign to
boycott goods manufactured in West Bank settlements, said that the two
sessions of indirect talks that took place in the past week have not
made any progress yet.He said that in the first session, the two
sides discussed, via US special envoy George Mitchell, the issues of
security and borders of the future Palestinian state.
second session, Mitchell presented the Palestinians with “verbal,
professional and legal questions,” Abbas said, refusing to elaborate.
added that the Palestinians would give their replies to the questions
after consulting with Arab countries because the PA had agreed to the
resumption of the indirect talks after getting a green light from the
“Until now, we can’t say that there has or hasn’t
been any progress [in the talks],” Abbas added. “But we hope that
matters will move in the right direction, and that we will reach
agreement on the borders and security within the next four months.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this
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