Update: Israel-Palestinian peace talks end without breakthrough

Update: Israel-Palestinian peace talks end without breakthrough

Amman : Jordan | Jan 03, 2012 at 10:59 PM PST
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Demonstration is seen in the Jordanian capital Amman against trade exchange with Israel

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Tuesday alongside international mediators trying to revive their stalled peace talks. Negotiations have been stalled since September 2010 when Israel refused to renew a partial freeze on Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank as demanded by the Palestinians, who want to found a state there as well as in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh voiced hope that Tuesday’s round led by chief negotiators Yitzhak Molho , PLO official Saeb Erekat and the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who represents the Middle East Quartet of Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, would mark the beginning of a serious dialogue.

Palestinian envoys handed Israeli officials a proposal for resolving border and security issues .Jordanian Foreign Minister said Israeli representatives promised to respond to the proposals in future meetings, which were agreed to be held in Amman at an unspecified date, official PA news agency Wafa reported.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh emphasized that there were no specific breakthroughs at the meeting.

"The gap is wide between the two sides on all issues ... The issues are complicated and we do not expect to resolve them in a day or two," he told reporters in Amman.

On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Ramallah that Palestinians were ready to resume direct talks if the Israeli government agrees on freezing settlement expansion.

Judeh did not confirm Israel's position on a settlement freeze, but noted "an agreement on borders and security will put an end to settlements," according to Wafa.

Both sides had downplayed the meeting, with senior PLO Wasl Abu Yossef insisting: "This is not a resumption of negotiations."

The Palestinians were simply fulfilling a request by the Quartet to present their positions on the issues of security and borders, he said prior to the summit.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had called on the Palestinian Authority to boycott Tuesday's meeting, saying it was "repeating a policy of failure."

The only beneficiary of the summit will be the Israeli occupation, he added, saying that Israel will exploit the meeting to avoid its own internal crises and improve its reputation in the face of the Arab Spring and growing opposition to Israel around the world.

Hamas have long shied from recognizing Israel, or endorsing talks with Israel, in contrast to the Fatah movement which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

However the signing of a reconciliation accord between the rival factions in May 2011, aiming to end the administrative division and establish a common national strategy, has thrown this distinction into confusion.

While some Hamas officials have suggested they might recognize a Palestinian state "on any part of Palestine," implying indirect recognition of the Israeli borders, and said they will join the legal representative of the Palestinians in negotiations, the PLO, the party's official standpoint against recognition has not changed.

Earlier, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the meeting was a "grave political mistake which will encourage occupation to go ahead with its aggressiveness against the Palestinian people and their properties."

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 Update: Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks End Without Breakthrough
A Palestinian protester holds a Palestinian flag in front of extreme right wing Jewish settler's house during a weekly protest in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. (REUTERS)
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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