If Israel responds positively to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Palestinians will be prepared to return to the negotiating table, a spokesman for Abbas said on Saturday.
The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, was speaking to reporters in Ramallah following a meeting between Abbas and David Hale, the US envoy to the Middle East.
Abu Rudaineh said that Abbas briefed the US emissary on the content of the letter, which was delivered to Netanyahu last week by Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in the West Bank.
The letter outlined the PA’s position toward the resumption of the peace talks and warned against the demise of the two-state solution, a PA official said.
“The letter demanded a full cessation of settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and Israeli recognition of the 1967 borders,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.
“If we don’t receive a positive answer, we will resume our efforts to achieve UN recognition of a Palestinian state. We will also pursue our efforts to isolate the policies of the occupation and expose Israel’s ambitions in our lands, water and holy sites.”
During Saturday’s meeting, Abbas told Hale that he was expecting an Israeli response to his letter within two weeks, Abu Rudaineh said. “If the Israeli reply is positive, this would be an encouraging sign to move in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, sources in Ramallah said over the weekend that relations between Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, have been further strained after the latter refused to deliver the letter to Netanyahu.
Abbas’s office had originally announced that a delegation headed by Fayyad would deliver the letter to Netanyahu.
But hours before the scheduled meeting, Fayyad surprised the PA leadership by refusing to head the delegation.
One source quoted Fayyad as saying that that he does not work as a “postman” for Abbas and Fatah.
Another source said that Fayyad decided to boycott the meeting with Netanyahu because he did not want to be seen with an Israeli prime minister on the same day that Palestinians marked “Prisoner Day.”
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo was also supposed to be part of the delegation that met with Netanyahu.
However, Abed Rabbo decided at the last minute to boycott the meeting to protest against Abbas’s failure to brief PLO officials on the content of his letter to Netanyahu.