Saeb Erekat
Saeb ErekatIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday claimed Israel was refusing to submit proposals for borders and security arrangements for indirect talks to be mediated by the Quartet for Middle East Peace.

An Israeli official close to the negotiations dismissed Erekat's charge as "spin," saying the PA had offered nothing new and reiterating Israel was only interested in direct negotiations.

"They are doing a spin on a spin on a spin," the official told AFP.

"The last time the Quartet was here, the Palestinians gave the Quartet a document to pass along to the Israelis," he related. "The Quartet refused to pass it along to the Israelis."

The Quartet told the PA "if you've got something to say to the Israelis you should give it directly to them - because the Quartet's position is that there should be immediate negotiations without preconditions," he added.

The Quartet is looking for proposals to "be presented in the framework of direct talks between the parties," he explained, "not proposals for indirect diplomacy."

Nevertheless, Erekat insists Israel is thwarting Quartet attempts to start indirect talks despite the clear position of international mediators that both parties should immediately launch direct negotiations aimed at achieving a final status agreement by the end of 2012.

"We presented our vision to the Quartet on security and borders and we are waiting for the Israeli government's response and its vision for a solution," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

"We have dealt positively with the Quartet," he said, referring to a cadre of diplomats from the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia seeking to re-launch negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

"We have revealed our vision and all of our positions, as called for, but Israel refuses to respond positively to the Quartet's calls," he added, calling on "the US administration and the Quartet to hold Israel responsible" for the failure of talks.

Israel has already accepted a Quartet proposal to resume direct talks without preconditions immediately, but PA officials have insisted Israel freeze all construction in disputed territories and accept the pre-1967 lines in order to create an impasse.

Observers note PA officials are well aware such maximalist demands before negotiations even begin render attempts to revive the moribund peace process moot, saying Ramallah is seeking to avoid talks so as not to make painful concessions they have not properly prepared their public for.