Netanyahu, Abbas 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been halted due to Israel's "refusal to engage in serious negotiations about borders, focusing instead on security," the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Tuesday.
Israel is seeking to transform the peace talks with the Palestinians into periodic meetings between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the report said.
Quoting Western diplomatic sources, the newspaper said that the talks have reached a dead-end "because of Israel's refusal to engage in serious negotiations about borders, focusing instead on security."
The sources claimed that Israel has insisted over the past two months on talking only about security-related issues. "But in the face of Palestinian insistence, some meetings dealt with the border," the sources said, referring to the secret talks held in Jerusalem and Jericho.
During the negotiations over the border, the Palestinian negotiators asked to discuss the rate of land swaps, the sources added.
The Palestinians proposed that the rate does not exceed two percent of the land of the West Bank in order to enable Israel to gather the settlers in settlement blocs along the border, the sources said, noting that that the pre-1967 lines would become the border between the two states.
However, the Israelis even refused to discuss this proposal and tried to avoid talking about the border, the sources claimed. They said that Israel was seeking make security the hub for drawing borders.
The report said that while Israel was seeking to transform the talks into periodic meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas, the Palestinians were trying to get the US to exert pressure on Israel to achieve progress that would pave the way for such a summit.
"The prospects of achieving progress in the current talks are zero," the report quoted Palestinian sources as saying. The Palestinians fear that Israel may use the meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas to "promote an imaginary peace process and avoid international pressure, the sources said.
"Palestinian public opinion won't accept public meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas while settlement construction continues," the sources explained.