PLO Says No (archive)
PLO Says No (archive)Israel news photo: EDK Communications

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) -- the greater umbrella organization which preceded and may well survive the Palestinian Authority -- had nothing but scorn in response to the idea of Israel formulating a new plan for peace with its Arab neighbor.

Details of peace initiatives being considered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have been recently been leaked in Israeli media.

“Deliberate Israeli leaks of the so-called 'Netanyahu initiative' show it to be little more than a reinvention of Israel's occupation as a system of annexation and control, rather than a genuine attempt to end the occupation and abide by international law and the requirements of peace,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the PLO.

Among the ideas allegedly being considered is one involving a further pullback of IDF forces from Judea and Samaria. The plan would effectively turn Area B – until now under IDF military control and PA civil authority – into Area A, under complete PA control.

Another involves an interim peace agreement.

“There will be no negotiations without a cessation of all settlement activities, without clear terms of reference in conformity with international law, and without a binding time line,” Ashrawi said Tuesday.

International efforts are also being made to pressure Israel into more concessions.

The Los Angeles Times has suggested the Quartet of peacemaking nations (Russia, the EU, U.S. and the U.N.) lean on Israel by announcing its recognition of a new PA country within the borders of the 1949 armistice agreement (the so-called “1967 borders), and with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

But Awshrawi observed in response that the Quartet has not yet officially recognized the PA as a sovereign nation. She added with some contempt that Quartet recognition would not be a substitute for United Nations recognition – which the PA has vowed to seek by September.

The PA has categorically refused to negotiate on any point since Netanyahu entered office, with the exception of three brief meetings brokered by the White House. The meetings one month prior to the end of a 10-month freeze on all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. They were immediately discontinued by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas when Israel refused to renew the ban on Jewish construction as a precondition for talks.