Chief Palestinian negotiator , Ahmad Qurai and his Israeli counterpart, foreign minister, Tsibi Livni, are scheduled to meet this week over peace talks, following suspension by Palestinians of negotiations in the wake of a deadly Israeli attack on Gaza, earlier this month, Israeli media sources reported Sunday.
Although the negotiations will be resumed, they have achieved very little progress since they were first launched during last November’s Washington-hosted peace summit in Maryland of the United States.
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, temporarily held off negotiations with Israel early on March after the Israeli army had killed more than 120 Palestinians , including 30 children, in one of the deadliest attacks on the Gaza Strip in the past 9 months.
The U.S-backed peace efforts are aimed to get both sides closer in terms of contentious issues such as the status of east Jerusalem, problem of Palestinian refugees and borders of Palestinian state, an objective that seems to be far from reaching for the time being.
Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, believes that a declaration of a Palestinian state is unlikely by the end of 2008, as Palestinian President wants to ensure a full agreement that includes a Palestinian state on both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where the Islamist rival Hamas party holds a sway.
The first phase towards realizing such an agreement is the implementation by both parties of the 2003’s U.S-backed road map peace blueprint, which obliges Israel to halt settlements building on occupied Palestinian lands and demands the Palestinian authority to dismantle resistance groups.
U.S Secretary of States, whose administration has voiced concern over recent Israeli planned settlement, had maintained that neither Palestinians nor Israelis had made enough efforts towards realization of the road map.