Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas 311 (R).
(photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)
The Israeli-Palestinian talks held in Jordan last month ended without progress,
and now Jerusalem is waiting to see whether the Hamas-Fatah agreement signed in
Doha will fall through before deciding what to do next, an Israeli diplomatic
source said Sunday.
The source said Israel was optimistic last month that
progress could be made in the low-level Jordanian sponsored talks, and began
preparing a package of economic steps to be given to the Palestinian Authority
to keep it at the table. That all ended, the source noted, when President
Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity agreement with Hamas head Khaled Mashaal in
Israel would not deal with a PA government under Hamas’s sway, even
if the ministers in a Palestinian unity government were “technocrats” and not
Hamas members, the source said. Israel expected that with the breakdown of the
Jordan talks, the PA would take its statehood recognition efforts back to the UN
in a matter of weeks, the source added.
The Palestinians spelled out
their territorial demands to Israel: 98.1 percent of the West Bank, something
that would mean that the large settlement blocs would not remain under Israeli
control, according to the source.
The PA presented Israel with their
documents – one dealing with territory, and another with security – at the first
meeting on January 4. According to the source, the Palestinian security document
did not deal with Israel’s security demands, but rather discussed how the
Palestinians envisioned their own internal security in their state.
source termed the Palestinian positions – both on security and territory – as
Israel did not provide the Palestinians with a territorial
counter-offer, beyond saying that it was guided by the following principle: Most
of the Jews currently living in Judea and Samaria would come under Israeli
control, while most of the Palestinians there would end up in a Palestinian
state. Another guiding principle that Israel presented was: the issue of
Jerusalem should be left to the end and dealt with separately because it is so
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At the second of the four meetings, Israel asked the
Palestinians 19 questions regarding the Palestinian positions, including what –
in their thinking – was to happen to the Jews living in the West Bank, and
whether they would be uprooted or become citizens of a future Palestinians
state. Another question was what would happen if Fatah and Hamas sign an
The Palestinians did not answer the first question, and
regarding the second, said the PA would create a strong democracy, the source
As to Jerusalem’s demand that Israel retain a presence in the
Jordan Valley, the Palestinians, according to the source, said they would not
allow an Israeli presence anywhere.
The source added that while the idea
of the talks in Jordan was to generate a positive dynamic and create confidence,
the positions put forth by the Palestinians “harmed confidence,” and that no
Israeli government could “accept them.”
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