Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Dan Meridor held an ‘informal meeting’ with Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Friday, during which he quoted the late Pope John Paul II as saying, “ Jerusalem is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, but was promised only to the Jews”.The intractable theological position of Israeli negotiators has, in the past, made compromise impossible, because the Israeli government claims that the land was given to them by God, and, as Meridor reiterated during Friday’s talk, “God never compromises.”

In the first such talks since Israel’s attack on a humanitarian aid ship last month, high-ranking officials in the Palestinian Fateh party met with their Israeli handlers on Friday in the session organized by the New York-based ‘International Peace Institute’.

Saeb Erekat, who was designated by the de facto government of Mahmoud Abbas as the chief negotiator for the Palestinians – despite the fact that most Palestinians do not feel well-represented by Erekat, met with Israeli officials on Friday to hear about the latest Israeli demands on the besieged Palestinian people.

In the meeting, Erekat said that if Israeli authorities stop settlement expansion in the West Bank, the Palestinian side is ready to come to the table. The statements made by Erekat were simply a restating of previous demands, with no changes on the Israeli or Palestinian side.

Israel’s representative at the meeting also re-stated the Israeli position that the land was given to the Jews by God, and therefore there could be no compromise. He also demanded that the Palestinians stop rocket fire into Israel, even though there has been very little rocket fire over the last year. This is despite the Israeli invasion last year that left 1,400 Palestinians dead, 300 of whom were children, and ongoing invasions and detentions of Palestinian civilians on a daily basis.