Efforts underway for high level Israel, PA meet

US sends emissary to discuss "new ideas" for revival of peace process; PLO negotiator: Israel must meet preconditions.

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)
Efforts are under way to arrange a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, PLO Secretary- General Yasser Abed Rabbo declared Thursday.
Abed Rabbo said that Israel was not taking any political or practical measures to pave the way for a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.
He added that Israel would first have to meet some of the Palestinians’ condition before a summit between the two men could take place, although he did not specify which conditions Israel would have to meet for such an outcome to occur.
“Contacts are continuing to ease tensions between the two sides and prepare for the resumption of the peace process,” Abed Rabbo told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.
The US, he added, remained opposed to Abbas’s bid to unilaterally seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
Meanwhile, US Middle East envoy David Hale is expected to return to the region in the coming days for talks aimed at reviving the peace process.
The US has told the Palestinian leadership that they have “new, positive ideas” on how to revive the peace process, Ameen Makbul, a Fatah official in the West Bank, said on Thursday.
Makbul said that Hale would brief the PA leadership on US plans to break the current stalemate in the peace process, but did not say whether Hale would try to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.
After Hale’s visit, the PA leadership will make a final decision whether to go ahead with the statehood bid at the UN or return to the negotiating table, the Fatah official said.
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper quoted a senior Palestinian official as saying that renewed US efforts to revive the peace talks are designed to stop the PA from pursuing its plan to seek unilateral UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
The official said that fresh US ideas include more goodwill gestures on the part of Israel, such as the release of Palestinian prisoners and freezing settlement construction.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned Abbas and discussed with him ways of resuming the peace talks with Israel, the official pointed out.