According to a senior Palestinian source, Israel has offered to establish a Palestinian state with provisional borders on 60 per cent of the West Bank, while the Israeli settlements and military bases in the West Bank will remain intact.
Yediot Ahronot described on Thursday the leaked information, which provides the first glimpse into the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and includes details of secret meetings. Both parties have pledged to US Secretary of State John Kerry to keep the details of the negotiations confidential.
The Palestinian official briefed on the negotiations explained that, “the Palestinians rejected the proposal fearing every interim agreement [on temporary borders] with Israel would turn into a permanent agreement.”
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also said, “They told us let’s discuss a Palestinian state with temporary borders. We told them let’s begin with discussing a Palestinian State within 1967 boarders, and then we can agree on how the Palestinian state will look.” The Associated Press quoted on Wednesday the Palestinian source’s remarks, however Israel has refused to comment.
According to the source, the teams did not formally negotiate on the issue of borders. The previous meetings have dealt mainly with security issues, because “Israel is interested in maintaining a stronghold over the Jordan Valley. Israel wants to set up early warning stations and to keep the military base near the border with Jordan. Israel uses the issue of security to justify confiscating the Palestinians’ land. Israel did not show any intention to evacuate the settlements and wants to control 40 per cent of the West Bank territory.”
The Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, has described the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations as futile. He issued a press release saying, “Although we decided to proceed with the negotiations we can see now that hopes to advance are very slim. We have expected this outcome. The hope is slim at the moment. These are fruitless negotiations. To intensify the bilateral meetings and to promise more meetings with the Americans will not save the political process. Only a clear and serious American pressure on Israel will do.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with a delegation of Arab foreign ministers in Rome next Sunday to discuss the ongoing negotiations process. According to the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad Al-Maliki, Kerry is also scheduled to meet him and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.