(photo credit: AP)
The Palestinian Authority on Monday denied a report that talked about the possibility of leasing West Bank land to Israel.
RELATED:'PM agreed to lease Jordan Valley from Palestinians''Israel may lease east Jerusalem from a Palestinian State'
The report, which appeared in a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, claimed that the idea of leasing the Jordan Valley to Israel had been put forward by the US administration.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat dismissed the report as a “test balloon” by Israel, which, he said, was seeking to establish facts on the ground and create confusion about peace proposals.
Neither PA President Mahmoud Abbas nor the Palestinians would be prepared to discuss such an idea, Erekat said.
“Palestinian territories can’t be leased to anyone, and they are the private and exclusive property of the Palestinian people,” he told the Palestinian Maan news agency.
Erekat said the PA was also unaware of reports that Washington was considering replacing its special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell. Erekat said that this was an internal American affair and expressed hope that the US administration would step up its involvement in the Middle East peace process.
JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
Erekat said he did not rule out the possibility that the “right-wing
media” in Israel was behind such leaks, in an effort to “destabilize”
the peace talks and undermine the US role in the process.
In another development, Hamas and Fatah said on Monday that they had
agreed to resume “reconciliation talks” in Damascus on November 9.
The two sides were scheduled to meet in the Syrian capital last week.
However, the meeting was called off following an altercation between
Abbas and Syrian President Bashar Assad during the recent Arab League
summit in Libya.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official involved in the talks with
Hamas, said the decision to resume the talks in Damascus came after the
PA and Syria agreed to settle the dispute that began in Libya.
Ahmed added that Fatah and Hamas would try to reach agreement on an
Egyptian initiative for solving the crisis. He said that the two parties
had yet to agree on security-related matters in the Gaza Strip, the
release of Hamas and Fatah prisoners being held in the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip and holding parliamentary and presidential elections.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said Fatah did not want to end its dispute
with the Islamist movement. He said that Hamas would never follow in the
footsteps of Fatah and act against Palestinians who launched terrorist
attacks against Israel.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>