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Israel lodges complaint over Palestinian peace talk leaks

February 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm

The Israeli government has lodged a complaint with the US in protest at what it described it as a “series of leaks made by senior Palestinian Authority officials revealing information about the ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority”.

An official source said that Netanyahu’s envoy, attorney Isaac Molho, has contacted his American counterpart, Martin Indyk, emphasising that “these leaks violate all agreements that have been reached between the parties with US Secretary of State John Kerry.”

Both parties to the talks apparently committed themselves to silence about the negotiations and what happens behind the scenes. Even the dates of sessions are to be kept secret. The US is the only party authorised by the group to report on progress.

Senior Palestinian Authority official Yasser Abed Rabbo made a number of disparaging comments about the talks last week. Calling them “futile”, he claimed that Israel is only interested in controlling as much Palestinian land as possible. Israel, it was alleged, has proposed the establishment of a Palestinian state within “temporary” borders but this has been rejected by the Palestinians.

According to Haaretz newspaper, an Israeli official denied the authenticity of the leaks and stressed that Israel hasn’t presented such a proposal. Such leaks, the official insisted, is typical of a Palestinian habit of leaking information ahead of international meetings – in this case Kerry’s meeting with EU and Arab League foreign ministers – in order to put pressure on Israel.

Political correspondent Barak Ravid commented that the leaks in any case reflect the dominant spirit within the Palestinian team, which lacks hope and is driven by frustration after six rounds of negotiations have come to nothing. The negotiators are still tackling the general guidelines and security arrangements with no focus on core issues that should have been addressed in “the real negotiations” before now, he wrote in Haaretz.

Palestinians insist on Israel accepting the principle of a state within the 1967 borders, which the Netanyahu government rejects; it proposes a tentative agreement on security arrangements between the two parties first.