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      Source: Talks With PA Aren't Producing Results

      A senior source in the Foreign Ministry told A7 officials in Ramallah are trying to create the 'illusion' of a peace process.
      By A7 Staff
      First Publish: 1/10/2012, 8:53 PM

      Saeb Erekat
      Saeb Erekat
      Flash 90

      Senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem and Ramallah say the recent round of diplomatic contacts in Amman, Jordan that ended on Monday aren't producing results.

      In a conversation with Arutz Sheva a senior Israeli source said Palestinian Authority officials refuse to back down from their unilateralist tack and continue to blame Israel for their refusal to talk.

      PA officials, the source said, only agreed to meetings between 'team leaders' due to pressure from the European Union because Israel put them in a corner by previously committing to talks without preconditions.

      "It's just a meeting of team leaders," the source said. "These meetings are not earth-shaking. The teams have already met before. We have indirect contacts all the time.

      "These meetings will not restart the negotiations, which we can do tomorrow if Abu Mazzen says he's ready. But he's not interested. Abbas still insists on preconditions and pursues unity with Hamas

      "The Palestinians' decisions to attend these meetings were aimed at making a show for the Europeans. The Europeans are against the unilateral track and the PA is creating the illusion of the process.

      "Nothing will come of it. In the balance, Abu Mazzen will refuse to meet with Netanyahu," the source added.

      The source's comments come after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molho and PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat attended a Jordanian sponsored round of talks at the EU's behest.

      The talks, aimed at exchanging position papers and exploring the possibility of renewed talks ended without any change in the moribund peace process' current deadlock.

      The PA continues to demand Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as a starting point for negotiations, as well as maintaining its demands that Israel release all Arab terrorists in its prisons and freeze construction in Judea and Samaria.

      A previous 10-month construction freeze by Israel aimed at meeting PA demands was rebuffed, resulted in additional preconditions, and ultimately ended with Ramallah's failed unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations in September 2011.

      Israeli officials maintain PA officials are using their preconditions as a fait accompli to forestall talks because they are not prepared to make hard compromises at the negotiating table. Israel has said it is willing to negotiate without preconditions from either side.

      Erekat's office said "there was no significant progress," and noted that the next meeting between the parties will be held on Saturday.

      Even as the meetings in Amman were talking place PLO officials were touting their shift to "a strategy based on continuous efforts along with the international community to secure full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."

      Senior PLO officials have also said they have no interest in an agreement with Israel on several occasions in recent weeks.