Bibi Wants Face-to-Face Meeting With Abbas (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 04/12/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will seek direct talks with
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas when he meets PA prime
minister Salam Fayyad next week.
Netanyahu will hold a rare face-to-face meeting with Fayyad and two
other senior officials from Ramallah in Jerusalem on April 17.
It will be the first top-level meeting between leaders in Jerusalem
and Ramallah since talks hit a dead end over two years ago.
According to his office, Netanyahu will propose "raising the level of
talks" and holding face-to-face negotiations with Abbas.
"At his meeting next week with the Palestinian delegation, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will propose raising the level of the
talks to conduct them directly with Abu Mazen," it said, using
"This message will also be passed on through his personal envoy, the
lawyer Yitzhak Molcho, who is expected to meet with Abu Mazen and
hand him a letter with Israel´s position on a future agreement with
the Palestinians," the PMO said.
Fayyad is expected to use the rare meeting to personally deliver a
letter from Abbas in which he lays out his conditions for returning
to direct negotiations.
In the letter, Abbas is expected to say the PA will only return to
negotiations if Israel agrees to accept the indefensible pre-1967
lines as a PA state´s future borders and halt construction in
the ´disputed territories.´
Fayyad will be accompanied by negotiator Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed
Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Israeli officials have long accused their PA counterparts of using
preconditions as a fait accompli to forestall talks that would
require them to make hard choices and comrpomises to achieve peace.
They also note that a previous construction freeze in Judea and
Samaria by Israel aimed at meeting PA demands was rebuffed and met
with additional preconditions - and Abbas´ failed unilateral
statehood bid at the United Nations Security Council last September.
Netanyahu is also preparing his own letter for Abbas, which will be
handed to the PA chairman by Molcho when the two next meet, although
a date for that meeting has not yet been announced.
In the letter, Netanyahu will clarify Israel´s position on reaching
an agreement, which will likely include a call for a resumption of
direct negotiations without preconditions.
Last week, Erekat and Molcho met to discuss Abbas´s letter in what
was the first time the two sides had met since January when they held
five rounds of exploratory talks in a bid to seek ways of reviving
But the meetings, which were sponsored by the Quartet – the European
Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States – ended
without any agreement to continue talking.
The last time Abbas and Netanyahu met was at the end of September
2010, just weeks after the peace process was relaunched to great
fanfare at a ceremony at the White House.
The PA chairman has threatened to turn to the United Nations General
Assembly if Netanyahu does not acquiesce to the demands contained in
the letter Fayyad will deliver next week.
Critics say Netanyahu´s government has failed to adapt to a new
paradigm in which PLO officials pursue a unilateral track while
forestalling bilateral talks with unacceptable preconditions.
In December 2011, PLO officials announced "a strategy based on
continuous efforts along with the international community to secure
full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing
internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 04/12/12)
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