Abbas half smile profile 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Palestinians
and Israel have agreed on the principle of a land swap, but denied that
the two sides had reached any further agreement in this regard.
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
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, however, 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.
‘Extent of land exchange in dispute’
Israeli officials, however, refused to discuss the
content of what is being talked about with the Palestinians.
public discussion of the content will make progress much more
difficult, and we want to make progress,” one official said.
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.
second session, Mitchell presented the Palestinians with “verbal,
professional and legal questions,” Abbas said, refusing to elaborate.
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
“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.”
'We are not boycotting Israel, we are boycotting settlements'
to the PA’s campaign to boycott settlement products, Abbas said that
the measure was not directed at Israel, but only against the
boycotting Israel because we have relations with it and we
import from them,” he said. “We are only boycotting the settlements
because we shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be consuming goods that
were produced in settlements built on our lands.”
Abbas said that the international community, specifically the Europeans,
supported the anti-settlement campaign “because it is just and
“They have all determined that the settlements are illegal,” he
explained. “So we are fighting against something that’s illegal. There’s
nothing illegal about what we are doing, and this should not be seen as
An Israeli official, responding to Abbas’s backing of the boycott, said
it would harm the Palestinians more than Israel.
“There are some 25,000 Palestinians working in the settlements,” the
official said, “and if you tell them they have to stop work tomorrow,
and they don’t have a substitute for that income, this is going to cause
problems for them.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this
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