Peace talks off as J’lem waits to see if Hamas, Fatah unite (JERUSALEM POST) By HERB KEINON 02/20/12)
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The Israeli-Palestinian talks held in Jordan last month ended without
progress, and now Jerusalem is waiting to see whether the Hamas-Fatah
agreement signed in Doha will fall through before deciding what to do
next, an Israeli diplomatic source said Sunday.
The source said Israel was optimistic last month that progress could
be made in the low-level Jordanian sponsored talks, and began
preparing a package of economic steps to be given to the Palestinian
Authority to keep it at the table. That all ended, the source noted,
when President Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity agreement with Hamas head
Khaled Mashaal in Doha.
Israel would not deal with a PA government under Hamas’s sway, even
if the ministers in a Palestinian unity government were “technocrats”
and not Hamas members, the source said. Israel expected that with the
breakdown of the Jordan talks, the PA would take its statehood
recognition efforts back to the UN in a matter of weeks, the source
The Palestinians spelled out their territorial demands to Israel:
98.1 percent of the West Bank, something that would mean that the
large settlement blocs would not remain under Israeli control,
according to the source.
The PA presented Israel with their documents – one dealing with
territory, and another with security – at the first meeting on
January 4. According to the source, the Palestinian security document
did not deal with Israel’s security demands, but rather discussed how
the Palestinians envisioned their own internal security in their
The source termed the Palestinian positions – both on security and
territory – as “nonstarters.”
Israel did not provide the Palestinians with a territorial counter-
offer, beyond saying that it was guided by the following principle:
Most of the Jews currently living in Judea and Samaria would come
under Israeli control, while most of the Palestinians there would end
up in a Palestinian state. Another guiding principle that Israel
presented was: the issue of Jerusalem should be left to the end and
dealt with separately because it is so complicated.
At the second of the four meetings, Israel asked the Palestinians 19
questions regarding the Palestinian positions, including what – in
their thinking – was to happen to the Jews living in the West Bank,
and whether they would be uprooted or become citizens of a future
Palestinians state. Another question was what would happen if Fatah
and Hamas sign an agreement.
The Palestinians did not answer the first question, and regarding the
second, said the PA would create a strong democracy, the source said.
As to Jerusalem’s demand that Israel retain a presence in the Jordan
Valley, the Palestinians, according to the source, said they would
not allow an Israeli presence anywhere.
The source added that while the idea of the talks in Jordan was to
generate a positive dynamic and create confidence, the positions put
forth by the Palestinians “harmed confidence,” and that no Israeli
government could “accept them.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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