Israel, PA agree to meet again next week

Before meeting in Jordan, Abbas warns of "hard measures" if Israel doesn't accept the PA's demands.

PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu 311 (R) (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu 311 (R)
(photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
Israel and Palestinian negotiators meeting in Amman on Tuesday for the first direct talks in 16 months agreed to continue talking, with another round scheduled in Jordan next week, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who hosted the talks, said at a press conference after the meeting that the Palestinian delegation submitted proposals on border and security issues to Israel, and that the Israeli team took the proposals and said it would respond and present its ideas in a future meeting. One principle that Israel is expected to put forward is the need for an Israeli security presence along the Jordan River in any agreement.
RELATED:Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to meet in Amman Barak: Negotiations can prevent Israeli isolation 
The talks, which where characterized as having taken place in a “positive” atmosphere, were divided into two parts and lasted a total of three hours.
The first part was a meeting that included Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, Judeh, Quartet envoy Tony Blair and a representative from each of the Quartet’s members – the US, EU, Russia and the UN.
This meeting was then followed by a direct meeting between Molcho and Erekat in the presence of the Jordanian hosts.
Judeh said afterward that while there was no breakthrough, the importance of sitting down and conducting a direct dialogue was not insignificant.
The talks were held without preconditions, and Judeh said that an agreement on borders and security would end the whole issue of settlement construction.
The sides agreed that they would not issue a statement following the meeting, and that the Jordanians would serve as the spokesmen for the talks.
The relatively upbeat atmosphere presented by Judeh contrasted with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s warning before the talks that Israel’s failure to accept the Palestinian demands for resuming the peace process would prompt him to take “hard measures.”
Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Abbas said the peace process would not be revived unless Israel agreed to freeze settlement construction and accepted the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.
“If Israel does not accept the Palestinian demands, we will take other measures which we cannot detail. These measures could be hard,” he said.
Abbas did not give details about the nature of the measures he plans to take. However, some of his aides have hinted in the past at the possibility that he might either resign or dismantle the PA.
Abbas said that the PA leadership would have to study various options when and if efforts to resume the peace negotiations fail. He pointed out that the Quartet had given Israelis and Palestinians three months to work toward reviving the stalled peace process. The deadline expires January 26.
Abbas warned that a “vacuum” could be created after the expiration of the deadline. “We won’t be able to continue living in a vacuum,” he cautioned.
Abbas said the results of Tuesday’s meeting in Amman would appear within a day or two. He expressed hope that the Jordanians would succeed in achieving a resumption of the direct peace negotiations between the PA and Israel.
“If the Israelis comply with our demands, we will be prepared to return to the negotiations,” the PA president said. He said that the PA did not rule out the possibility of land swaps with Israel as part of a twostate solution.
Meanwhile, Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti said in a letter from Israeli prison that the peace process had failed. He called on the PA leadership to stop “exporting illusions” about the peace process and to endorse a new strategy based on popular and peaceful protests and boycott campaigns against Israel.