Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, it is claimed, rejected a request from Mahmoud Abbas to provide a map of the proposed border between Israel and a future State of Palestine. According to newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Netanyahu said that he cannot provide such a map "at this stage", citing the fact that his predecessor Ehud Olmert did so "but that did not lead to anything".
His remarks were made as speculation mounts over how much, or how little, Secretary of State John Kerry will bring with him from Washington when he visits the region this week. One source in Israel said that the visit will not provide any breakthrough on the resumption of negotiations between the two sides.
The same source said that Netanyahu will continue to reject Palestinian requests for a map of the border pending so-called "final status talks". It is claimed that the prime minister is sticking to his guns so that he can keep the Jordan valley under Israeli military control and make independent Palestine a demilitarised state.
"Netanyahu is convinced that Israel needs such conditions due to the instability in the region," said the anonymous source, "and it also needs to go through security arrangements before any progress in the negotiations." He added that what has happened in Gaza would not be allowed to happen in the West Bank.
"Israel must control the Jordan Valley," he insisted. "International forces failed to do anything along the Philadelphi route [the strip of land on the border between Gaza and Egypt] and Hamas took over the route in seven hours." Not only that, he pointed out, Netanyahu "still needs to get Abbas to recognise the right to establish a Jewish state in Israel".