The Israeli daily newspaper Maariv today rubbished Israeli PM Netanyahu’s statement he is ready to sit down with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas and make peace.Columnist Ben Caspit claims that Netanyahu’s announcement on Sunday that he is willing to discuss all core issues with Abbas conflicts with the reality of the situation. ‘In the past weeks,’ Caspit writes, ‘ Israeli representatives, including Netanyahu, have repeatedly rejected official documents that their Palestinian counterparts have tried to submit to them, with details of the Palestinian positions on all the core issues. The Israeli representatives are completely unwilling to discuss, read or touch these documents, not to speak of submitting an equivalent Israeli document with the Israeli positions.’

He points to two occasions recently when this has happened. According to his sources the first took place a few weeks ago in a Washington between Saeb Erekat , chief Palestinian negotiator, and Israeli representative Yitzhak Molcho.

During the meeting, ‘Erekat surprised Molcho, took an official booklet out of his briefcase bearing the logo of the Palestinian Authority and tried to hand it to Molcho. When the Israeli inquired as to the content of the booklet, Erekat said that this was, in effect, the detailed and updated Palestinian peace plan, with the detailed Palestinian positions on all the core issues. Molcho refused to take the booklet or examine it. According to sources who are informed about what took place there, he said to Erekat, and to the Americans, that he could not touch the Palestinian booklet, read it or take it, because as soon as he would do so, “the government will fall.”’

In the second instance it is claimed that during a recent meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Abbas presented a two-page document to the Israeli PM which he refused to read or discuss. The document contained the proposed Palestinian solution to the two issues the sides were supposed to discuss at the first stage – security and borders.