Report: U.S. Trying to Revive Israel-PA Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) reaches to shake hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in front of U.S. President Barack Obama (C) during a trilateral meeting at President Obama's hotel in New York September 22, 2009. Obama, making his most direct foray into Middle East diplomacy, on Tuesday called Israelis and Palestinians to act with a sense of urgency to get formal peace negotiations back on track. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash 90
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) reaches to shake hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in front of U.S. President Barack Obama (C) during a trilateral meeting in New York in 2009. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

A Jordanian report Sunday said that Israel and Palestinian Authority would soon get together to restart talks that have been frozen for over two years. According to the report, both sides acceded to pressure by the United States to hold talks.

However, Palestinian Authority sources said that no talks would take place unless Israel agreed to its two preconditions – a complete construction freeze in all of Yehudah, Shomron and Yerushalayim, as well as an Israeli release of all terrorists held in prison. The report in the Al-Ra’ad newspaper was based on comments by a top PA official, who said that Israel had agreed to hold talks without preconditions.

Wassel Abu Yusuf, the official quoted in the report, said that the PA welcomed all attempts to reach a final status agreement, but that “there are conditions that must be met in order to ensure that the meetings deal with substance, and not just economic issues. We are very interested in advancing the French peace initiative,” he said.

It should be noted that the PA preconditions are just that – requirements just to start the talks. The PA in previous rounds of talks consistently demanded that Israel withdraw from all of Yehudah, Shomron and areas of Yerushalayim liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, that Israel make arrangements for the repatriation of Arabs who fled the 1948 armistice lines when Israel was established, and that the Palestinian capital be located in Yerushalayim. These conditions have been called “non-negotiable” by the PA.