Netanyahu, Mubarak Meet on PA Talks
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to meet on Monday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The two will discuss the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The two leaders are expected to discuss PA demands, among them the extension of the construction freeze in Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria and a building freeze in Jerusalem. The PA has demanded a complete building freeze in those areas as a precondition for talks. "If even one house is built, we will break off the talks," said PA negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Netanyahu will be accompanied by Minister of Trade and Labor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
Israel-PA talks may resume within the next several days, with the return to the Middle East of United State envoy George Mitchell. Talks will begin as indirect negotiations mediated by the US.
On Wednesday, Mubarak plans to meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Egypt and the Arab League have backed Abbas's demand to freeze Israeli construction in much of Jerusalem prior to the resumption of peace talks.
The PA demands that Israel ultimately hand over half of Jerusalem to the PA, which will make it the capital of yet another Arab state. Abbas sees all parts of Jerusalem that were under Jordanian control from 1948 to 1967 as rightfully belonging to the Arab world, including neighborhoods that have historically been Jewish.
Previously, Abbas agreed to direct negotiations with Israel in the absence of a construction freeze. However, following Israel's agreement to a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, and US pressure on Israel over Jewish housing in northern Jerusalem, the PA began to demand an indefinite building freeze as a condition for talks.