The Palestinenet news website reported that a secret meting that
included aides of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and aides
of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, was conducted two days ago
in Jerusalem, but ended with failure and no timetable for another
meeting was set.
The Palestinian team included Rafiq Al Husseini, the advisor of the Palestinian President, and Palestinian chief negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat. The Israeli team included Noram Nrobovitch and Shalom Turjman.
The meeting was a top secret one and was meant to prepare for a possible meeting between Abbas and Olmert, but it ended without any foreseen positive results and the two sides did not set a date for another meeting.
Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli side insisted that the captured Israeli soldier should be freed before talks would resume.
Israel believes that the soldier, captured by three Palestinian resistance factions since June 25, is being held in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli team said that any progress in talks with the Palestinians is dependant on the safe release of the soldier.
The Palestinian team said that the soldier is in the hands of the resistance, including a group that belongs to Hamas, adding that president Abbas is conducting utmost efforts to release the soldier in exchange for a prisoner swap deal.
Also, the Palestinian team asked Israel to lift the siege impose on the Palestinian territories, and transfer the tax revenues Israel had been holding since several months. The amount of tax revenue Israel is holding is estimated by 600 Million US Dollars.