Governor of Nablus city in the West Bank, Mahmoud Burhum, stated on Tuesday that Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad is to meet with Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak today over further security arrangements.
Burhum said that such a meeting, the third in the past several weeks, comes after the Palestinian Authority has already concluded ‘ the file of aL-Aqsa martyrs brigades’, the armed wing of President Mahmoud Abbas-led Fatah party.
Well-informed media sources reported that today and tomorrow, Palestinians and Israelis will be holding a series of meetings under the auspices of American officials, shortly ahead of President Gorge W. Bush’s visit to the region on Wednesday.
Fayyad-Barak meeting today will be discussing handover of Nablus city to the Palestinian Authority, in a bid to return the situation back prior to September2000, when Palestinian-Israeli violence broke out, the sources referred.
The Palestinian Authority and Israel began last December their first rounds of peace talks, following a Washington-sponsored peace conference in November of 2007.
The talks are reportedly based on the 2003’s U.S-backed road map peace blueprint, which demands the Palestinians to dismantle resistance groups, in return for halt of Israeli settlements building on occupied Palestinian lands.
The Bush’s visit to the occupied West Bank and Israel is said to be meant to give a boost to such talks, which were stalled recently, given Israeli plans to construct housing units in the occupied east Jerusalem, Palestinians consider their future capital.
In Gaza, Palestinian resistance factions unwelcome the visit as ‘ an attempt to undermine Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation’, as the ruling Islamist Hamas movement brands it ‘ a photo opportunity’.