PA officials: Israeli border proposal a non-starter

PLO source says Israeli proposal for borders and security calls for "a Palestinian state made up of a wall and settlements."

January 27, 2012 11:55
2 minute read.
Amman talks with Blair

Amman talks with Blair_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Palestinian officials said Friday that Israel’s presentation of its ideas for border and security arrangements of a future Palestinian state at a meeting in Amman on Wednesday was a nonstarter, envisaging a fenced-off territory of cantons that would preserve most Jewish settlements.

Israel’s envoy to the talks, Yitzhak Molcho, outlined the principles and parameters Wednesday night for the Palestinians that will guide Israel’s policy on border issues, an Israeli government official said. According to the official, Molcho did not draw a line on a map, but rather spoke in general principles about what Israel would take into consideration when drawing that line.

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“He killed the two-state solution, set aside previous agreements and international law,” PLO source said of Molcho’s presentation. “Basically, the Israeli idea of a Palestinian state is made up of a wall and settlements.”

An Israeli official said the presentation was in line with a framework for talks set by the Quartet – the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Its aim is to ensure that the core issues of borders and security were clearly set out by January 26, with the goal of relaunching negotiations stalled since November 2010, to reach a framework peace accord by the end of this year.

After five rounds of talks in Jordan, including Wednesday’s session, the Palestinian source said there are no more meetings scheduled. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he wants to consult Arab League states on the next move.

According to the Palestinian source, Molcho’s team suggested that any solution creating a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel needs to “preserve the social and economic fabric of all communities, Jewish or Palestinian.”

The idea presented by Molcho “does not include Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, and includes almost all [Jewish] settlements,” the Palestinian official said.

An Israeli official said Molcho presented guiding principles that determine Israel’s positions on the territorial issue.

Israel’s approach to territorial compromise in the West Bank includes the principle that “most Israelis will be under Israeli sovereignty and obviously most Palestinians will be under Palestinian sovereignty,” the official said.

He noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had acknowledged, in a speech to the US Congress, that not all Jewish settlements “will be on our side of the border” of a future Palestinian state.

“We think it is very important that these talks continue. They are only at a preliminary stage, but they contain potential and obviously in less than a month it would have been illogical to talk about a breakthrough,” he said.

“But in many ways the talks are progressing better than expected and it would indeed be a pity to bring about a premature ending of this process.”

Palestinians dispute this.

“The Israelis brought nothing new in these meetings,” said one official familiar with the talks.

Peace negotiations foundered in late 2010 over a Palestinian demand that Israel suspend settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

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