Israel is refusing to submit its proposals on borders and security under indirect talks mediated by the international Quartet, a Palestinian negotiator said on Thursday.
An Israeli official close to the negotiations dismissed the Palestinian charge as “spin,” saying their proposal was nothing new and Israel wanted direct talks, not mediated discussions through the Quartet.
“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 the grouping of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia that is trying to relaunch peace talks between the two sides.
“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.
The Quartet has been working to relaunch direct peace talks, which ground to a halt shortly after they began over the issue of Israeli settlement construction.
Efforts by Quartet envoys to bring the sides together have so far failed, with Israel saying it wants talks without preconditions and the Palestinians saying they will not talk before Israel freezes settlements and accepts the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations.
Erakat said the Palestinians had presented a document on November 14 proposing the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War form the basis of a deal, with land swaps of around 1.9 percent of the total land in question.
On security, the Palestinians said they would accept “the presence of a third party on the border with Israel in exchange for a total Israel withdrawal from all Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” Erakat said.
But an Israeli official close to the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Palestinian proposal contained nothing new and that the Quartet had declined to even officially transmit it to the Israeli side.
“They are doing a spin on a spin on a spin,” he said of the Palestinians.
“The last time the Quartet was here, the Palestinians gave the Quartet a document to pass along to the Israelis.
“The Quartet refused to pass it along to the Israelis and they said 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.”
The official said the Palestinian document contained “a regurgitation of positions that were discussed and put on the table four or five years ago, there was absolutely nothing new there whatsoever.”
And he denied Israel had defied the Quartet by refusing to submit its own proposal, saying the grouping had only called for proposals to “be presented in the framework of direct talks between the parties.”