PA eyes final accord within 6 months of summit
U.S. rejects Palestinian demand for statement to include deadline on final-status agreement.
The Palestinian Authority wants the preface to the joint statement at Annapolis to say that a final-status arrangement will be completed within six months of the signing of agreements at the summit.
This is based on a document recently written by the Palestinian support team for the negotiations with Israel. Palestinian sources relayed the main points of the paper to Haaretz.
Rice has already informed PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) that the U.S. rejects his demand for a schedule for the final-status agreement.
In their paper, the Palestinian team recommended that the preface indicate that both parties are to fulfill their mutual obligations in the first stage of the road map within six months. The recommendations were submitted to chief Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat.
The proposal, if adopted, would require Israel to dismantle the illegal outposts and stop building in the settlements on the West Bank within six months after the summit. The PA claims it has fulfilled its obligations for the first stage: creating an independent government, rejecting terror and violence and acting to dismantle terror infrastructures, among other measures.
The PA team even advised Erekat not to link the statement to implementing the first stage of the road map in order to head off an Israeli attempt to condition the implementation of the Annapolis document on implementing the first stage.
The PA team wants implementation of the Annapolis statement to be discussed within the negotiations over the final agreement. Both sides have avoided issuing position papers or their opening positions in the team talks.
The first sentence of the introduction to the joint statement, according to this latest Palestinian document, states that Israel and the PA have agreed on the presentation of a framework for peace that will outline the solutions for all of the core issues such as refugees, Jerusalem and borders. The Palestinian team even pointed out that the peace agreement between the parties will pave the way to normalization between Israel and Arab states.
The Palestinian team works in close coordination with Erekat, who claimed Wednesday, in response to a query from Haaretz, that no such document exists. "We work as a single body," he said. "They don't give me recommendations to formulate. We work according to the instructions of President (Chairman) Abu Mazen."
The intelligence division of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff Headquarters sought to emphasize that MI does not make predictions about the success of peace summits. He said this after a Haaretz report about Military Intelligence officers who put the chances for success at Annapolis at "close to nil."
MI chief Amos Yadlin submitted to the political leadership an analysis of the Palestinians' "ranges of flexibility" in the negotiations, according to which the Palestinians did not plan to move from their positions. He added, however, that the final result of the summit also depends on the Israeli position, which was not part of the MI assessment.
In recent days, the IDF has noticed a change for the better regarding Palestinian attitudes to the summit, in the form of a greater willingness for a more general discussion rather than insisting on deliberating on the core issues only.
Such attitudes would help avoid a crisis that would end the summit. The army, however, does not rule out that the Palestinians will reject the summit if they sense it will fail.