Reports: Top Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet in Jordan

According to media reports, the head of a future Israeli delegation at peace talks met with a senior Palestinian negotiator in Amman recently in what has been described as a “trust building” exercise.

Israel’s Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, who was recently appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead future peace talks, apparently met with veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday. Although the details of the meeting were not disclosed, analyst Avi Issacharoff says in the Times of Israel, that it was an opportunity for “trust building” and to lower tensions, following the deaths last week of two Palestinians in clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank. Yediot Ahronot reports that “the goal was to break the ice and see how to move forward.”

Shalom underlined Israel’s willingness to re-start peace talks at a UK-Israel strategic conference in London last month, organised by BICOM, saying, “We want to resume negotiations but it takes two to tango.” He also told a recent security conference in Tel Aviv, “We need to resume the negotiations with the Palestinians, even though we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Meanwhile, Zionist Union MK Hilik Bar, who chairs the Knesset’s caucus for two states for two peoples, will today unveil a 25-page diplomatic framework which he says would resolve the conflict. The document suggests the end of all claims by Israel and the Palestinians, including a rapprochement with parts of the Arab world. Jerusalem would remain physically undivided, but become the capital of two states, while borders would be drawn which would keep most Israeli settlers in their homes.

Bar’s plan will be backed by opposition leader and Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog. Bar said that the framework “solves the conflict with a two-state solution while keeping a firm Jewish majority, and it takes the one-state solution off the table immediately.”

Meanwhile, officials close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denied a Channel One report claiming he is poised to resign.

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