Unity gov´t watered down response to PA letter (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, HERB KEINON 05/25/12)
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The letter that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent in response to
PA President Mahmoud Abbas last month regarding conditions for
renewing the peace talks was a milder version of the original
response drawn up,The Jerusalem Post has learned.
In response to Abbas’s indictment of Israeli actions over the last 20
years, Jerusalem drew up a response in kind which was not
considered “friendly.” But once the unity government with Kadima was
established, the decision was made not to get into polemics with the
PA, but rather to water down the response and essentially tell the
Palestinians that now that there was a broad government, there was a
chance to start anew with negotiations, and that this opportunity
should not be missed.
The Israeli letter that was sent, the Post has learned, was one-and-a-
half pages long and short on details.
Abbas’s letter outlined his conditions for returning to the
negotiating table, demanding Israeli recognition of the pre- 1967
lines as the basis for future peace talks, a full cessation of
construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem and the release of
PA officials have expressed disappointment with Netanyahu’s response,
which the prime minister’s envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, delivered to Abbas
two weeks ago.
They called the response “vague” and said it did not include “clear
answers” to Abbas’s letter.
Abbas, meanwhile, met with US Consul- General Daniel Rubinstein and
discussed with him the latest developments surrounding efforts to
resume the stalled peace talks.
Abbas, according to one of his aides, told the US diplomat that he
was disappointed with Netanyahu’s reply.
The PA prime minister renewed his threat on Thursday to unilaterally
seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state in response to Israel’s
refusal to accept his conditions for resuming talks.
His threat was made during an interview published Thursday with the
Lebanese daily An-Nahhar.
Abbas also told the paper that the exchange of letters between him
and Netanyahu has reached a “deadlock.”
Abbas said that he was expecting the Americans to come forward
with “new ideas” to revive the peace process.
He said that any idea should include a freeze of settlement
construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines “with some land
swaps.” Otherwise, Abbas cautioned, “we will go to the UN to extract
a seat for Palestine as a non-member state.”
Abbas also reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish
state, saying the PLO, by signing the Oslo Accords, had recognized
“We won’t agree to recognize something called the Jewish state,”
Abbas stressed. “Why wasn’t this issue raised when Israel negotiated
with Jordan and Egypt?” He added that the new coalition in Israel
made Netanyahu’s government one of the most powerful in the history
“Because it’s a strong government, it should be able to solve the
problem with us,” Abbas said. “But the question is not whether it is
capable of doing so, but whether it has a desire,” the PA president
pointed out. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/25/12)
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