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Tensions hinder Palestinian- Israeli negotiations

February 11, 2014 at 9:23 am

Palestinian officials said that the Palestinian and Israeli delegations have held a new round of talks on Tuesday during which tension over the Israeli settlements thwarted the meeting. A Palestinian official is reported as saying, “American delegates have attended the Palestinian- Israeli talks but the meeting was very tense due to Israeli stubbornness”.

The Palestinian official told AFP “the negotiations are already in crisis. During Tuesday night’s session, tensions intensified dramatically because the Israeli delegation insists on continuing with settlement constructions. Israel claims that there is a deal to continue building settlements in exchange for the release of the last batch of prisoners and this is untrue. The Palestinian delegation explained, to the Americans, that they absolutely refuted these allegations. The Israelis insist on settlements and we cannot continue negotiations under these unprecedented Israeli attacks”. According to the official the Palestinian delegation was heard shouting in protest against the misleading information that Israel leaked. Over the past three months the Palestinians and the Israelis have held 20 meetings. Palestinian officials and Israeli media warned that if the U.S. mediator did not intervene, the negotiations were doomed to failure.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry was keen to deny that other plans to achieve peace were underway in order to reach a final agreement by the end of the scheduled nine months. However, the two sides are too far apart.

The Palestinian negotiators demanded that negotiations were based on 1967 borders as future borders between the two states with potential land swaps. Israel considers its wall in the West Bank to be the future border, rather than the 1967 borders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spokesman did not confirm the reports saying he would not comment on ongoing negotiations. Israel wants to keep a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley and to base the land swap on its security needs, a Palestinian official claimed. Kerry ordered the parties to keep the progress of negotiations away from the media.