A day after Israeli and Palestinian envoys met in Jerusalem for the latest round of peace talks, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said the negotiations between the two sides were proving pointless and would not yield tangible results without greater American pressure — akin to Washington’s efforts vis-a-vis Syria.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, one of Abbas’s top advisers, told Voice of Palestine radio that in the five weeks since peace talks restarted there had been no progress. “These negotiations are futile and won’t lead to any results.” he said.
“I don’t expect any progress at all unless there is huge and powerful American pressure, such as the one we are seeing from America to deal with the Syrian issue,” said Rabbo.
An unnamed Palestinian official said Tuesday that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat attended that day’s meeting, the Ma’an news agency reported. The official added that both sides presented their views on final status issues but noted that no agreement has yet been reached. It was the fifth meeting between the two sides since negotiations resumed on July 29.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the report or confirm if the meeting indeed took place.
On Sunday, Abbas reportedly told Fatah officials that the Palestinians were persisting in their demand that East Jerusalem be the capital of a future Palestinian state, a condition he called a “red line.”
In their negotiations over the past month or so, Israel has presented its overall position on the core issues and the Palestinians are preparing a response, an Israel Radio report quoted Abbas as saying. The talks have reached a “review of positions,” he said, without elaboration.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been tight-lipped about the talks, refusing even to disclose when and where they are held.
On Sunday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki revealed that US special envoy to the peace talks Martin Indyk was present at one of the negotiation meetings.
“The negotiations have been serious, and US Special Envoy Martin Indyk and his team have been fully briefed on the bilateral talks and also participated in a bilateral negotiating session,” Psaki added. “As we have said in the past, we are not planning to read out the details of these meetings.”