New round of formal and direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinian Authority will start on next Thursday morning in Washington under sponsorship of Obama administration. Both sides appointed their chief negotiators and American side would be represented by Sen. George Mitchell. Israeli side will be represented by Netanyahu’s close friend and lawyer Yitzak Molcho, on the other side of the table would seat long time negotiations veteran Saeb Erekat man who stands behind several rounds of negotiations and peace agreement. Mr. Molcho has some experience in negotiation with Mr. Erekat, because he was chief negotiation in 1990’s when Mr. Netanyahu served his first PM mandate.
According to unnamed Israeli official Prime Minister Benjamnin Netanyahu will seeks continuous cycle of meeting in time frame of two weeks. Both sides agreed that is premature to talk about negotiation conditions until next week when talks will start.
Mr. Erekat who spoke with The NY Times from Palestinian territories said that priority for PM Netanyahu is to choose peace over settlements and to continue partial Israeli moratorium on settlement construction after September 26. Palestinians are firm in their decision that there wouldn’t be new talks if Israeli side choose to resumes with settlement construction. Mr. Erekat expresses his wishes that PM Netanyahu would be Palestinian partner in this process, adding that he respects and honours Mr. Molcho for his previous role in negotiations.
According to Dennis Ross, former US Envoy to the Middle East, Mr. Molcho is only person in the PM Netanyahu’s team who has ability to tell him what he doesn’t want to hear and only one who has unconditional trust from PM.
Third side in this long-time dispute, Hamas, rejected negotiations with Israel. Their representative Khalid Meshaal, who lives in exile in Damascus, said that those talks would be nothing more than a public relations exercise, designed to help US President in the run-up to mid-term elections and polis Israeli’s tarnished image after its assault on and aid flotilla. He also said that after 60 years of unsuccessful negotiations those one would not bring anything concrete towards peace. Hamas issued through Mr. Meshaal call to the Arab leaders, Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II of Jordan, to avoid Washington talks. Mr. Mubarak and King Abdullah II were called to take a part in negotiations by US mediators.
Previously speaking to media about upcoming negotiations Israeli PM Netanyahu said that peace agreement is difficult challenge but he is confident that agreement is possible to be reached.