'PA gives 'borders and security' positions to Israel'

First direct meeting between Israel and the Palestinians in over a year ends in Amman; Jordanian foreign minister says he "doesn't want to raise expectations but dialogue shouldn't be discounted."

January 3, 2012 21:47
3 minute read.
Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat 311 (R). (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)


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A meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Jordan ended Tuesday night after the two sides had not met face-to-face for over a year, in which the Palestinians reportedly passed their positions on borders and security to Israel.

Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, his Palestinian Authority counterpart Saeb Erekat, representatives of the Quartet and a Jordanian representative all met together, followed by a second meeting without the Quartet representatives.

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to meet in Amman
Barak: Negotiations can prevent Israeli isolation 

Following the meeting, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said that efforts to renew negotiations would continue and that additional meetings would be planned. "We don't want to raise expectations, but the importance of conducting dialogue should not be discounted," Judeh was quoted by Israel Radio as saying.

According to the Jordanian foreign minister, Erekat gave Molcho Palestinian positions on the issues of borders and security. Molcho, according to the report, said he would present Israel's positions on the issues in the coming weeks.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the talks Tuesday and thanked Jordan for facilitating the meeting. Ban said he "encourages the parties to build on this meeting and to continue working to establish forward movement toward a lasting peace."

Earlier Tuesday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas warned that Israeli failure to accept the Palestinian demands for resuming the peace process would prompt him to take “hard measures.”

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Abbas said that the peace process would not be revived unless Israel agreed to freeze settlement construction and accepted the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

“If Israel does not accept the Palestinian demands, we will take other measures which we can’t detail. These measures could be hard.”

Abbas did not give details about the nature of the measures he plans to take. However, some of his aides have hinted in the past at the possibility that he may either resign or dismantle the PA.

Abbas said that the PA leadership would have to study various options when and if attempts to resume the peace talks fail. He pointed out that the Quartet had given Israelis and Palestinians three months to work toward reviving the stalled peace process. The deadline expires January 26.

Abbas warned that a “vacuum” could be created after the expiration of the deadline. “We won’t be able to continue living in a vacuum,” he cautioned.

Abbas said that the results of Tuesday’s meeting in Amman would appear within a day or two. He expressed hope that the Jordanians would succeed in resuming the direct peace talks between the PA and Israel.

Abbas reiterated the PA demands for returning to the negotiating table: a freeze of settlement construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

“If the Israelis comply with our demands, we will be prepared to return to the negotiations,” the PA president said. He said that the PA didn’t rule out the possibility of land swaps with Israel as part of a two-state solution.

Meanwhile, jailed Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti said in a letter from prison that the peace process has failed. He called on the PA leadership to stop “exporting illusions” about the peace process and to endorse a new strategy based on popular and peaceful protests and boycott campaigns against Israel.

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