PM: No agreement on land swaps

Netanyahu says Mitchell has yet to approach J'lem with PA proposal.

May 23, 2010 13:48
2 minute read.

Netanyahu Mitchell . (photo credit: GPO)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stressed on Sunday that no agreement had been reached on the issue of land swaps, telling Likud ministers that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell had yet to approach the Israeli government with such a proposal from the Palestinian side.

The prime minister's remarks came in response to a statement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that the Palestinians and Israel have agreed on the principle of a land swap. Abbas said that aside from the initial agreement in principle, the two sides had not reached any further agreement in this regard.

‘Extent of land exchange in dispute’

The issue of the ratio of land Israel would give to the Palestinians in exchange for keeping settlement blocs has long been an issue of dispute, with the Palestinians demanding that the ratio be 1:1, and Israel offering less.

Israeli officials, however, refused to discuss the content of what is being talked about with the Palestinians.

“Any public discussion of the content will make progress much more difficult, and we want to make progress,” one official said.

Mitchell presents PA leadership with 'verbal, legal questions'

Abbas, speaking to reporters in Ramallah while participating in a campaign to boycott goods manufactured in West Bank settlements, said that the two sessions of indirect talks that took place in the past week have not made any progress yet.

He said that in the first session, the two sides discussed, via US special envoy George Mitchell, the issues of security and borders of the future Palestinian state.

In the second session, Mitchell presented the Palestinians with “verbal, professional and legal questions,” Abbas said, refusing to elaborate.

He added that the Palestinians would give their replies to the questions after consulting with Arab countries because the PA had agreed to the resumption of the indirect talks after getting a green light from the Arab League.

“Until now, we can’t say that there has or hasn’t been any progress [in the talks],” Abbas added. “But we hope that matters will move in the right direction, and that we will reach agreement on the borders and security within the next four months.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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