Palestinians : Talks with Israel over

2012-01-25 22:38

Ramallah - Exploratory peace talks with Israel have ended with nothing to show for them, the Palestinian president said on Wednesday, pledging to consult with the Arab League about the next moves and leaving open the possibility of an extension.

After a total break of more than a year, international mediators persuaded the sides to send their negotiators to Jordan to explore the possibility of resuming peace talks. Reflecting the depth of their differences, they could not even agree on when to submit proposals.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would discuss the prospects with the Arab League next week, Israel wants to keep talking, and Abbas is under mounting international pressure not to walk away.

Visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is scheduled to meet separately over the next two days with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Two officials involved in the contacts said she is trying to put together a package of Israeli incentives that would keep the Palestinians in the talks.

In the Jordanian-mediated exploratory talks, Israeli and Palestinian envoys met several times over the past month, including on Wednesday.

The Quartet of international mediators - the US, the UN, the EU and Russia - said last fall that it expected both sides to submit detailed proposals on borders and security arrangements, in hopes the dialogue would evolve into full-fledged peace talks.

Palestinian officials said they submitted their proposals, but that Israel did not. "If we demarcate the borders, we can return to negotiations, but Israel does not want to do that," Abbas said on Wednesday, after talks in Jordan with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

Israel says it has submitted a document outlining the areas that need to be discussed, but it was not characterised as a proposal.

Diplomatic manoeuvres

Abbas said he would consult with the Arab League - which usually rubber stamps his decisions - on February 4. This would allow for an additional nine days of diplomatic manoeuvres to save the talks.

A walkout could cost the Palestinians international sympathy at a time when they seek global support for UN membership for a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israel is eager to keep talking and to "try to achieve a historic agreement before the end of the year," an Israeli government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief reporters.

"We hope that the Palestinians aren't looking for an excuse to walk away from the table."

Ashton said during a visit to Gaza on Wednesday that "we need to keep talks going and increase the potential of these talks to become genuine negotiations."

The two sides disagreed on how much time was set aside for the exploratory talks.

The Palestinians said the deadline is Thursday, or three months after the Quartet issued its marching orders, while Israel believes it has until early April, or three months after the start of meetings.

Underlying the impasse is Abbas' conviction that it's impossible to reach an acceptable border deal with the hard-line Netanyahu.

Land-swap concept

The Palestinians are ready for minor adjustments in the lines of the West Bank through land swaps, but Israel has not submitted a proposal. Netanyahu has not endorsed the land-swap concept and insists that east Jerusalem belongs to Israel.

Netanyahu has also rejected Palestinian demands that he halt construction in Jewish settlements on occupied lands or recognize the pre-1967 war's cease-fire line as a baseline for border talks.

Abbas argues that without such assurances, there is no point in returning to negotiations. He fears Israel will use continued negotiations as a diplomatic cover for seizing more land, through settlements, that the Palestinians want for their state.

Israel counters that the Palestinians have not made a halt to settlement construction a condition for peace talks in the past.

The Palestinians reluctantly agreed to the Jordanian-mediated talks because they did not want to turn down a request by the Jordanian monarch.

Strong ties with Jordan, which neighbours the West Bank and is home to millions of Palestinians, are a pillar of Abbas' foreign policy.


- AP

Read more on:    mahmoud abbas  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  jordan  |  palestine  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.