PLO to Meet in Wake of Failed Talks

PLO's Executive Committee to hold meeting, following the failure of exploratory talks with Israel.

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Elad Benari,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee will meet on Monday to discuss failed talks with Israeli envoys this month, committee members told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency on Saturday.

Wasil Abu Yousif, the PLO’s secretary-general, told Ma’an the cabinet meeting would prepare for a February 4 summit with the Arab League follow-up committee, after a deadline set by the international Quartet for resuming negotiations passed without agreement.

Fellow committee member Ghassan Shakaa told the news agency the PLO meeting “will be decisive, focusing on the Amman talks and their aftermath.”

Wednesday marked the final in a series of “exploratory” meetings in Jordan between Israeli envoy Yitzchak Molcho and the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. The two made little headway in their fifth meeting, the last before the January 26 deadline set by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations to break the impasse and relaunch direct talks for a final status agreement between the two sides.

Prior to the last meeting, the PLO announced it would refuse to continue talks with Israel after the deadline.

Erekat – a member of the Fatah terror faction's Central committee -- used a previous meeting to negotiate the release of all PA terrorist prisoners currently incarcerated in Israeli jails, rather than to focus his efforts on discussing the core issues relating to Israel-PA statehood.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Molcho presented this week, for the first time, Israel’s principles regarding the borders of a future Palestinian state.

One of the principles is that, in a final settlement, most of the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria will remain in Israeli territory, and the border will be drawn in such a way that most PA Arabs who currently reside in Judea and Samaria will be part of the Palestinian state.

The borders presented by Molcho are similar to the route of the separation fence, which was constructed in such a way that most of the major ‘settlement blocs’ remained on the western side of the fence. In the past, the PA has consistently rejected having the border be determined based the separation fence.

PLO cabinet member Hanan Ashrawi told Ma’an that Monday’s meeting will discuss follow-up to talks with Israeli envoys, as well as the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas.

She emphasized that negotiations will not be resumed until Israel completely halts settlement activities and recognizes east Jerusalem as capital of the future Palestinian state.