Head of the Palestinian negotiations team, Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated Tuesday that Palestinian and American officials held a meeting in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, but added that this meeting does not, in any way, mean the resumption of talks with Israel. Erekat told the France Press that he and member of Fateh’s Central Committee, Mohammad Eshtiyya, held a meeting with U.S. Middle East Peace Envoy, George Mitchell, his assistant, David Hale, and U.S. National Security official, Dan Shapiro.
He stated that this meeting does not represent the resumption of direct or indirect talks with Israel, and that he the talks focused on issues of importance to the American and the Palestinian sides.
Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), told the France Press that Washington sent envoys to separately discuss security issues with the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
Majdalani added that Washington is wasting time by sending envoys as such efforts will not achieve any result due to the ongoing Israeli violations and settlement activities.
“After the United States declared its failure in convincing Israel to freeze its settlement activities, U.S. officials felt it is time to talks about security issues, related to the continued occupation”, he said, “Washington has all the means to stop Israel’s settlement activities, but never made any political decision in this regard, we believe that peace is not a priority for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu”.
Visiting Cairo, Fateh’s Central Committee member, Azzam Al Ahmad, said that the Palestinians will not veto talks with the U.S., but will not accept any attempt to accept the notion that talks between Israel and the Palestinians are ongoing.
He added that the Palestinian decision to head to the Security Council to put the issue of settlements on the table proves that there are no talks with Israel.
“We want a clear American stance regarding settlements, and the borders to the future state”, Al Ahmad added, “We need a clear stance on security issues, and former American commitments that the U.S. administration is trying to void”.
The “commitments “Al Ahmad was referring to were made in a document issued by former U.S. envoy, James Jones under former President, George Bush, in which certain security arrangements were reached especially regarding borders, and the deployment of international forces.
At the time, the Palestinians suggested that international forces, proposed to be deployed in Palestine, should be formed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and led by the U.S.
Israel insists on what it calls its right to construct Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and in occupied East Jerusalem, and refuses to hold talks on main issues such as borders, the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, natural resources and sovereignty.