Palestinian negotiator: Israel presented no position or offer in Amman talks
Palestinian negotiator says Israel did not present any positions at meetings - just a list of issues for discussion.
The only document Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far presented to the Palestinians during the recent peace talks in Amman is a list of 21 topics for discussion in negotiations on a final-status agreement, Haaretz has learned.
Dr. Mohammad Shtayeh, a senior member of the Palestinian delegation to the talks in Jordan and one of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' close advisers, told Haaretz on Thursday that the Israeli delegation has submitted no position or offer. "We are still waiting for one. What the Israelis did was to present a list of parameters that look more like a plan to consolidate the current reality of Bantustans than ending the Israeli occupation," he said.
Shtayeh said the Palestinian position presented in Amman is in keeping with international law and has been submitted to the members of the Quartet.
According to the Israeli document, which Haaretz has obtained, Israel's sole condition before final-status talks start is Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish people's state. Abbas has rejected this demand several times.
"This was added as part of a sham grocery list of 21 topics Netanyahu refers to as 'a comprehensive document' for negotiations," said Shtayeh of the demand to recognize Israel as the Jewish people's state. "We have recognized Israel 24 years ago on the 1967 borders just as other countries like the U.S. and Micronesia have."
The Palestinians believe this demand conceals Israel's intention "to prejudice the rights of the Palestinian refugees who have been waiting for over 60 years for justice and reparations... Acceptance of this demand would also mean prejudicing the rights of over 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel," he said.
The document does not mention the Palestinian position, supported by U.S. President Barack Obama and the Quartet, that the basis for negotiations should be the 1967 borders and consensual land swaps.
The document, copies of which were presented to foreign diplomats, confirms the Palestinians' claim that Israel refuses to present its positions in documents and maps.
Shtayeh said that Isaac Molho, the chief Israeli negotiator, read out to the Palestinian delegation "some parameters for a territorial agreement that was more like a summary of the Likud political platform."
Shtayeh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, denied the Israeli version that Molho's offer was similar to the one made by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at the Annapolis talks.
"We did not receive any written proposal or maps," he said. "How could anyone believe that was their offer [complete withdrawal from the territories apart from the settlement blocs]? His government is composed of a very ideological group of parties that have clearly stated that the occupied West Bank is part of Greater Israel."
The talks never reached the issue of land swaps because Molho objected to using the term "occupied territories" and insisted on calling them "disputed territory," Shtayeh said. Instead of "settlers" he insisted on "Israeli citizens," he added.
"We said we could similarly open the discussion to include the 'disputed territory' of Jaffa and Haifa along with the 'disputed territory' of the West Bank," he said.
Applying the Israeli parameters would mean annexing 46 percent of the West Bank to Israel, with no compensation to the Palestinians, he said.
The list Israel presented to the Palestinians includes such topics as security, the end of conflict, territory and borders, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, water, civilian matters and infrastructure, religious sites, timetables for implementation and the Palestinian state and its relations with Israel.