‘Document Israel gave PA was just an outline’

Western officials say 21-point document given during meeting with Palestinians dealt with general principles of final agreement.

January 5, 2012 20:47
3 minute read.
Amman talks with Blair

Amman talks with Blair_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The 21-point document Israel gave the Palestinians in Amman this week dealt with general principles of what will be needed to reach a final agreement, not with detailed Israeli proposals, Western diplomatic officials said on Thursday.

The document was presented on Tuesday to Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat by Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chief negotiator.

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Molcho was accompanied at the meeting by Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to London, who was involved in the talks with the Palestinians in August to September 2010, and Netanyahu’s communications director, Yoaz Hendel.

The officials said the topics on the list are among the issues expected to be discussed at a follow-up meeting in Amman on Monday.

That meeting will still be held at the level of negotiators, and no meeting between Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas has yet been set up.

Netanyahu, according to Israeli sources, wants a meeting with Abbas, since he is aware that if the negotiation process is to succeed, decisions are going to have to be made at the highest levels.

The Palestinians presented Israel on Tuesday with their proposal on borders and security, which calls for a full Israeli return to the 1967 lines, except for a 1.9 percent land swap. Israel refused to accept this proposal when the Palestinians presented it to the Quartet in November for delivery to the Israeli side, demanding that it be presented during direct negotiations.

While Israeli officials refused to provide specifics about Israel’s document, the London-based pan- Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Wednesday that it included a refusal to accept Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN resolution 194 that stated that “refugees wishing to return to their homes” should be willing to do so.

The paper also said the 21 points included a refusal to withdraw from all the settlements; a security presence in the Jordan Valley; that the Palestinian state not be allowed to forge alliances with countries hostile to Israel; the continued presence of IDF forces at strategic West Bank sites; and an implementation of the agreement gradually over a number of years.

Israel emphatically denied on Thursday the paper’s claim that it expressed willingness during talks with the Palestinians in Jordan earlier this week to withdraw from some Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

“It never happened,” a senior diplomatic source said. The document, according to officials, is just a rough outline of issues that need to be discussed, and did not present in any detail Israel’s position on the matters.

The report quoted Nimmer Hammed, an adviser to Abbas, saying the Palestinians will give their response to the outline when the two sides meet again.

A State Department spokeswoman said on Thursday that Washington was encouraged by the first round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We are encouraged that they are both coming to the table, they are talking directly,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in her daily briefing.

The Quartet on September 23 called for the two sides to resume talks with the aim of reaching a peace agreement by the end of 2012.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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