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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Erekat: Obama-Mazen meeting was 'difficult'

The picture is not from Monday's meeting.

'Palestinian' chief negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat reports that Monday's meeting between President Hussein Obama and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen was 'difficult.'
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas showed Barack Obama what his negotiator called “a very ugly map” of recently constructed Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, amid concern peace talks may be about to fall apart.

His chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who was present at the meeting between Abbas and Obama at the White House, said on Tuesday that the encounter had been “candid” and “difficult”.
Erekat said the Palestinian delegation showed the US president a map showing 10,589 housing settlement units he said were built on Palestinian-claimed territory since negotiations began less than eight months ago.
“We put a map to president Obama – showed him the extent of what happened since we began in July,” Erekat said, showing the same map to an audience at the Wilson Center thinktank in Washington.
The Palestinian negotiator spoke briefly on Monday following the White House meeting, but his candid remarks during a 45-minute discussion with an audience in Washington on Tuesday provided deeper insight into the extent of disagreement.
The key issues under discussion include crucial agreement on borders and territory, which would include land swaps; whether Jerusalem can be a shared capital for both states; and Israel’s security needs.
The Palestinian demand that refugees should have the right to return to their former homes is also being discussed, as well as Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognise it as a Jewish state.
Erekat insisted Palestine would not interfere with how Israelis “want to define themselves”, but said it was unwarranted to insist Palestinians should recognise Israel as a specifically Jewish state.
“Israelis cannot deny that I have my own narrative, I have my religion, I have my story,” he said. “When they ask me to recognise the Jewish state, what they are doing is asking me to change my narrative.”
He also painted areas of wide difference regarding border difference and Israel’s insistence on keeping a military presence in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.
Erekat also said there was “another date” ahead of April that could prove pivotal for the talks: a 29 March deadline, now less than two weeks away, by which Israel had agreed to release the fourth tranche of some 100 Palestinian prisoners.
“We paid for this,” Erekat said, referring to an agreement by the Palestinians, forged before the start of the negotiations, not to resort to the United Nations and other international institutions to seek recognition for their state. “I personally made a deal with Mr Kerry.”
“I hope [Israeli prime minister Binyamin] Netanyahu will honour this, because what I’m hearing from the Israeli ministers is not encouraging,” he said.
 What could go wrong?

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At 4:52 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

10,000 housing units in 8 months???
I thought the number was closer to 0... this is great! (or would be great, if it was true)


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