Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 370 (R).
(photo credit: Luis Galdamez / Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas canceled Sunday’s scheduled
Ramallah meeting with Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, Palestinian officials said on
It would have been the highest-level face-to-face meeting
between Israeli and Palestinian leaders since September 2010.
that Mofaz will bring nothing new,” said the PLO’s Wasl Abu Yosef, who told
reporters of the postponement.
Former PA minister of state for
negotiation affairs Hassan Asfour said the postponement may have been prompted
by a protest among Palestinian youths who did not like the idea of Mofaz, a
former Israeli defense minister and chief of staff, being a guest at Abbas’s
According to diplomatic officials, the Abbas-Mofaz meeting
was set because of a conflict between the vice premier and Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu over the Plesner Committee’s recommendations on replacing the
“Tal Law” and sharing the burden of national service.
Netanyahu and Mofaz
spoke on Friday about the committee, but their meeting ended badly.
was wrong to torpedo the meeting. It doesn’t help Israel diplomatically, but we
believe the meeting will happen soon, and we are careful not to inflame tensions
with Bibi [Netanyahu] on this right now,” sources close to Mofaz
The Prime Minister’s Office did not comment on the
An Israeli official, however, confirmed that Abbas canceled the
According to Channel 10, a source close to Netanyahu said it was
“embarrassing that there are people close to Mofaz trying to claim that there is
a connection between the Tal Law and the meeting with Abu Mazen [Abbas]. This is
a claim that was made up after the Palestinians already announced that the
meeting was canceled because of the demonstrations in Ramallah against
An Israeli official said Israel’s position has consistently been that it is ready to hold talks with the
Palestinians without preconditions.
According to the official, such talks
could take place at any place, at any time, at whatever level they [the
Palestinians] are comfortable with, either a low-level working meeting or one
between Netanyahu and Abbas.
“We would ask the Palestinians how they
expect to move forward unless they are willing to talk,” the official
Cancelation of the meeting followed Friday’s move by UNESCO’s World
Heritage Committee to register the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem under
According to AFP, the PLO called for an emergency UN
Security Council meeting on Israel’s continued settlement
activity.Reuters contributed to this report.