According to the Jerusalem Post, Abbas was quoted by some Fatah party members as saying in a meeting on Wednesday that progress on the issue of borders in the proximity talks was key, saying they can’t enter direct talks “without clarity.” Abbas’ comments came as he reportedly said that US President Barack Obama was being unclear in his answers to Palestinian questions despite calling for an unconditional return to direct peace talks. Abbas reportedly said, “We want clear answers to questions we presented to the Americans, especially regarding security, borders and the status of Jerusalem. We continue to insist that any negotiations with Israel be based on recognition of 1967 as the future borders of the Palestinian state.”
In the past, the Palestinians have accepted the concept of agreed-upon-land-swaps with Israel, although it appears they could want the equivalent of 100% of the territory in the 1967 borders, namely East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]. While certain areas such as the major settlements may be left in Israeli hands, equivalent territory elsewhere would maintain the percentage of territorial exchange.
Crowley said in the press briefing that the US has had conversations with the Palestinians and Abbas in recent days, but refused to reveal specifics. He did, however, reveal a general talking point. “Our message to both parties is let’s get to direct negotiations as quickly as possible, where, in fact, we can address the fundamental issues and the process, including borders. These are issues that we think can only be resolved within the context of direct negotiations.”
While direct talks are where the US believes the core issues such as borders can ultimately be addressed, that doesn’t mean that work on them can’t be done in the indirect proximity talks. “Now, there certainly is the opportunity in the proximity talks that we’re having and other contacts that we have to clarify and identify the foundation upon which the direct negotiations could pursue. So is the opportunity to have dialogue on these issues leading up to direct negotiations, of course,” said Crowley. “But ultimately, in order to address the concerns that we know that both parties have—refugees, security, Jerusalem, borders—those are going to be resolved in the direct negotiations themselves.”
Posted on July 22, 2010
Source: (By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, July 21, 2010)
Photo Credit: Photo by Isranet
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