Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad next week, Israeli and Palestinian officials said on Wednesday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ political advisor Nimer Hammad told AFP yesterday that a senior Palestinian delegation headed by Fayyad would meet with Netanyahu and present him with a communiqué regarding the peace process, the final product of months of Palestinian deliberation. He added Fayyad would be joined by senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo and negotiator Saeb Erakat.
Haaretz reported that the letter would not include any threats by Abbas to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, as had previously been reported. However, in Cairo on Monday, Abbas said his message would contain a warning for Israeli leaders. “You have made the Palestinian Authority a non-Authority. You have taken from it all its specialisations and commitments,” he said, quoting from the letter.
Israeli premier’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman said confirmed via twitter that “Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with Palestinian prime minister Fayyad”. He initially said the meeting would take place next week, but later clarified that it would occur after Passover, which ends on 13 April. Gendelman added that Netanyahu would send his own letter to Abbas after the talks. “Prime minister’s envoy (Yitzhak) Molcho will deliver a letter from the prime minister to president Abbas following the meeting,” he wrote.
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold since September 2010, but Jordan and the Quartet sponsored several rounds of talks in Amman. Those talks were intended to pave the way back to direct negotiations, but ended without agreement on how they might resume. Israel says it wants to return to the talks without preconditions, but the Palestinians want clear parameters for discussions and an Israeli settlement freeze before they resume negotiations.