The Palestinian Authority and Israel agreed on Monday, to delay the summit between the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, until November, due to differences and disagreement which could doom the summit to failure.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that the meeting was during a phone call between P.A cabinet minister SaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢eb Erekat, and SharonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advisor Dov Weisglass.
Erekat said that the substance of the meeting is more important than its timing; the statements of Erekat came after his meeting with U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Welch.
Also, Erekat added that the P.A is seeking the release of 20 detainees who have spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons, and Israeli military withdrawal from West Bank city, beginning in Bethlehem.
Sharon and Abbas were slated to meet on Tuesday but Israel rejected to respond to the Palestinian demands to release Palestinian detainees arrested before 1993, and further military withdrawals from the West Bank.
Apparently, Abbas-Sharon summit will take place at the beginning of November after Abbas returns from Washington.
An Israeli political source reported that Sharon and Abbas were originally slated to meet next month, but the Abbas was asked by the U.S. administration to hold the meeting prior to his visit to the States.
‘They asked, and we agreed,’ the Israeli source stated, ‘but the American administration wanted Abbas and Sharon to meet before Abbas travelsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Israel is still rejecting to release Palestinian detainees arrested before 1993, and is still rejecting to implement the Sharm Al Sheikh understandingÃ¢â‚¬Â, a P.A source said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are still several differences which remains unsolved, such as operating the Rafah border crossing with being monitored by Israel, the safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the deportees, and the release of Ahmad Saadat, the secretary general of the Popular Front from the P.A prison in JerichoÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Abbas-Sharon Meeting may be delayed to November
George Rishmawi-IMEMC & Agencies
The summit between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which was scheduled for Tuesday, may be postponed until November, Palestinian political sources reported.
According to Palestinian sources, it is important for them to see that the meeting would bring about changes on the ground, which they do not see available yet, saying that the Israeli proposal leaves them empty-handed.
Sharon has hinted to the possible delay in his cabinet meeting on Sunday, however, the final decision will be made after the follow-up meeting that will join Palestinian Authority chief negotiator, Dr. Saeb Ereikat with Dov Weissglass, Sharon’s advisor on Monday.
Ereikat and Weissglass had a preparatory meeting on Sunday for half an hour only, during which Weissglass handed a written version of the Israeli proposal on which the summit will be based.
Palestinians had two major demands for the summit to be fruitful, one to provide the PA with weapons and to hand over security control over all the Palestinian cities to the Palestinian Authority.
According to an Israeli political source, ‘We want to begin the process, and they want to see something concrete. It is clear to us that we have to give them things, but it is impossible to do so within a week.’
Palestinian Minister of Planning, Dr. Ghassan Al-Khatib said there are concrete results that might come out, to justify holding this summit, adding that it needs more preparations.
Abbas had earlier declared that he is not interested in a summit with Sharon for PR purposes, but for concrete results that would push peace talks forward.