Erekat: Leaked List Doesn't Represent Our Official Stand

Palestinian negotiator says reported list of six demands came from Fatah officials, not him, and is not Palestinians' official position.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied on Thursday that his team presented a list of demands to Israel that included the release of 1,200 prisoners, recognition of the 1967 borders and of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, as was reported in several Palestinian media.

Erekat told associates that this list came from Fatah officials, not from him or his staff, and did not represent the official Palestinian negotiating position. He said that while he did tell U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and Israeli negotiators on Wednesday night that the Palestinians wanted to discuss the dispute's core issues, he did not go into detail nor make the demands reported.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a senior Fatah official and formerly co-negotiator with Erekat, agreed that the list of demands did not represent the official Palestinian position. He told Haaretz that the key issue the Palestinians wanted to negotiate was borders.

He said that from the start of negotiations last July, the Palestinians and Americans both sought to make borders the first issue on the table. "If we had the settled the issue of borders, we would have wrapped up several major sticking points, mainly settlements and security arrangements. Each side would have known where his border lay, and we would have gone on to negotiate about Jerusalem and water, but Netanyahu and his government began raising difficulties and obstacles. What's important to Netanyahu is to preserve his coalition and not to reach an agreement," Shtayyeh said.

He went on to say that the Palestinians' opening negotiating position today is based on two goals: First, the fulfillment of the fourth release of prisoners and their return home, and second the setting out of a framework for continuing the talks on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Meanwhile, senior Palestinian Authority officials said they have begun explaining the PA's stance to foreign diplomats in Palestine, and the feedback they're getting indicates the world understands it was Israel that violated the agreement by refusing to carry out the fourth prisoner release.

A senior Palestinian official said the Americans also have a clear view of the situation, adding that the Palestinians have no intention of getting into a confrontation with the Obama administration.

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