After three years of deadlock

Israelis and Palestinians to Resume Peace Talks in Washington on Tuesday

Israeli officials confirm: Talks are expected to last nine months, and to open with discussions of Palestinian borders and Israel's security demands.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will resume on Tuesday in Washington, Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters in Jericho on Thursday.

Shalom had been meeting in Jericho with Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, to discuss the possibility of renewing peace talks, which broke down in late 2010.

He made the announcement at a press conference Thursday following the dedication of a joint industrial zone in Jericho that was initiated and funded by the Japanese government. The industrial zone will be operated by Palestinians, and its products sold to Jordan.

Also participating in the event were the Jordanian interior minister, the Palestinian planning minister and the Japanese foreign minister.

A senior Israeli official confirmed Shalom's announcement. The official said the decision to renew peace talks on Tuesday was made by U.S. officials and senior Israeli and Palestinian officials during a series of telephone calls.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is responsible for the Israeli government's negotiations with the Palestinians, is expected to participate in the Washington meeting. Also expected to participate is the prime minister's personal envoy, Isaac Molho.

Erekat will be participating on behalf of the Palestinians, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will represent the United States. Kerry announced the resumption of talks last week, after a series of meetings with each of the sides.

According to senior officials in Jerusalem, the meeting in Washington is expected to deal primarily with the agenda for holding negotiations, including the subjects to be discussed and the timetable. The talks are expected to last about nine months, and to open with discussions of both the borders of the Palestinian state and Israel's security demands.

In advance of the meeting, the Israeli cabinet is expected Sunday to approve the release of 82 Palestinian prisoners who were involved in attacks against Israel and who have been in prison since the pre-Oslo Accords period. The prisoners are expected to be released in four rounds over eight to nine months.

At the same cabinet meeting, the ministers are also expected to approve a bill that would require a national referendum over any peace agreement with the Palestinians.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni during their meeting at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Rome on May 8, 2013.Credit: AP
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom