Palestinian officials in Ramallah have accused the US administration of
deceiving and misinforming the Palestinian Authority with regards to the peace
talks with Israel.
The officials told the London- based Al-Hayat
newspaper that they were concerned about the US administration’s role in the
peace talks with Israel – renewed last month after a three-year standoff –
especially its position on plans to build homes in settlements and east
After the latest session on Wednesday, the
officials had met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday and heard from him
about the peace talks with Israel.
According to the newspaper, some of
the Palestinian officials accused Washington of “deception and misinformation”
in order to keep the PA at the negotiating table with Israel.
officials also expressed concern that the US would dupe the PA into accepting a
state with provisional borders, the newspaper said.
It quoted Abbas as
telling the officials: “I have told the US administration 10 times, and I’m
ready to tell them again, that we won’t accept any solution that contradicts the
A senior Palestinian official told Al-Hayat that US
Secretary of State John Kerry gave the Palestinians assurances that Israel would
reduce construction in settlement blocs.
The official also claimed that
Kerry promised that Israel would halt construction in settlements outside the
blocs during the peace negotiations.
“It’s obvious that Kerry was either
deceived by the Israelis or that he’s deceiving us in order to keep us at the
negotiating table,” the official said.
Some Palestinian officials voiced
concern over talks between the US and Israel regarding shared security interests
once a political solution is reached. One official complained that the
Palestinians were not party to these talks.
The sides have provided
little detail about the talks, hoping a lower profile may help them reach
Washington’s ambitious goal of a deal for Palestinian statehood in nine months,
despite wide gaps over key issues.
On Friday, Israel’s top peace
negotiator said the newly resumed talks with the Palestinians held a wider
opportunity for Israel to seek alliances with Arab world moderates against
radicals in the Middle East.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, speaking after
a meeting about the negotiations with visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
on Friday, declined to say whether any progress had been made.
the talks had provided an opening “not only to relaunch negotiations but also to
change the allies and alliances in the region.”
“I believe there are
parts in the Arab world that for them relaunching the negotiations can be an
opportunity to support this and to work together against the extremists,” she
added, alluding to the turmoil in Egypt and Syria.
Abbas said at a
meeting with Ban on Thursday that the negotiations with Israel had thus far
dealt with “all the final-status issues,” but that it was “too early to say
whether we’ve accomplished anything or not.”
The Arab League, Jordan and
Egypt’s military-led government have welcomed the resumption of peace talks,
with backing from the Arab League whose 2002 peace initiative remains on the
table for possible recognition of Israel after the dispute is
Ban said in his Ramallah talks with Abbas he was “deeply
troubled by Israel’s continuing settlement activity in the West Bank, including
The UN chief was referring to plans for some 1,200 new
housing units in the territory Israel captured in the Six Day War which Israel
published ahead of last week’s talks.
Ban praised Israel’s release of 26
of the 104 security prisoners promised under a deal that led to resuming peace
talks, but expressed concern for 5,000 other Palestinians in Israeli jails, some
of whom have been on intermittent hunger strikes.