PLO official Saeb Erekat denied on Saturday a report in an Israeli newspaper that Israel has refused to receive a letter being prepared by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
According to the report, Abbas’ letter contains an overview of the PA's position on the peace process and the future of relations between it and Israel.
The Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday that Erekat asked for a meeting with Israel's prime minister, but his request was denied. During the meeting, Erekat was to submit the letter, the report said.
Erekat dismissed the report on Saturday, but confirmed that he made a request to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“The Palestinian side is still waiting for reply from Israel to set a date for a meeting to deliver the letter,” Erekat told Ma’an, adding that a PA delegation would deliver the letter to the Israeli side.
Ma’an also cited a report in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper which quoted what it referred to as high-profile diplomatic sources as saying Netanyahu turned down a request by the PA to set a date to deliver the letter.
The source said that Erekat contacted Netanyahu’s office to set a date for a meeting, but the request was ignored and Erekat did not receive any reply to his request.
Peace talks between Israel and the PA have been frozen since Jordan hosted a series of “exploratory meetings” between Erekat and Israeli negotiator Yitzchak Molcho. The PA refused to continue to talk after those meetings and Abbas continued to impose preconditions on negotiations.
Recently it was reported that Jordan would deliver a letter in which the government of Israel and Palestinian Authority detail their conditions for peace talks to resume.
The letter repeats the PA’s previous demands, which are seen by Israeli officials as an excuse to forestall talks. These include a demand that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as a basis for future borders, release terrorists who were imprisoned before 1994, and halt settlement construction in the 'disputed territories.'
The PA is also threatening to cancel all agreements signed after 2000 if Israel does not agree to their demands before peace talks.