The Palestinian Authority apparently is not being kept informed about the incentive offers being made to the U.S. to freeze settlement construction or what exactly any deal might involve. This seems a bit odd since there is not much use negotiating a deal with Israel that is not agreeable to the Palestinian side. Perhaps the U.S. is hoping for a deal with Israel and then it will exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority to go along with it.
The Palestinian leaders are waiting for an official U.S. response to the question of a settlement freeze by Israel in occupied territories. A Palestinian leader told reporters in Ramallah that "the Palestinian leadership hasn't received any official American response over the resumption of the Israeli- Palestinian direct peace negotiations." No doubt there will be no official response unless Israel agrees to the recent incentive package.
Israeli media reports reveal a U.S. package of incentives designed to obtain a settlement freeze. However the agreement would be only for ninety days with a promise that no further extension would be asked and it would not include East Jerusalem. It also includes a provision that the U.S. would veto any UN resolution that might harm Israel such as a motion to recognize Palestinian statehood.
The Palestinians are apparently not being kept up to date on what the U.S. and Israelis are up to! A Palestinian leader Abed Rabbo said:"The Palestinian side is unaware of the details of the talks between the Israeli side and the Americans concerning finding a middle-ground form over freezing settlement. Once we receive an official American response, the Palestinian leadership would study it."
Israeli Radio reported that Netanyahu presented the proposed U.S. package to his cabinet on Sunday.
The radio report said that the proposed U.S. package was discussed on the weekend between Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State in Washington. Given that the agreement is only for ninety days and excludes East Jerusalem it is not at all clear that it will be acceptable to the Palestinian authority.
Direct talks were halted when the Palestinian side would not continue after Israel refused to extend a ten-month moratorium over freezing settlement that ended in September 26. Later last month a semi-Arab summit gave the U.S. a month to convince Israel to halt settlement construction otherwise the Palestinians would use other diplomatic options instead.
A spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency said that the Palestinian leaders had not been informed about the package of incentives offered Israel and added:"The official Palestinian stance won't be declared before President Mahmoudreceives an official response from the American administration over the reality of what is going on," The official response when it comes will be studied both by the Palestinian Leadership and the Arab League. Obviously much remains to be settled before direct talks can continue but it would seem that as I had thought the U.S. is using the carrot approach with Israel. However, if Abbas agrees to any more concessions his leadership of the Palestinian Authority may be in danger and Palestinian militancy may increase. Even Hamas is having problems with radicals who want to being sending rockets into Israel again.