The office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert maintained Tuesday that Israel is not ready to talk with the Palestinian Authority (PA) about final borders for a proposed new Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Earlier in the day, PA officials said that its Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would insist on bringing up the issue in their planned meeting in two weeks, temporarily scheduled in Jericho. The contradiction in positions could set the stage for an impasse.
"We have been very clear that we are not willing to discuss at this stage the three core issues of borders, refugees and Jerusalem," said Miri Eisin, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Olmert.
American President George W. Bush said in his speech Monday that "with the proper foundation we can soon begin serious negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state."