Barak Adviser: Israeli-Palestinian Talks \'in a Fog\'
The outcome of talks between Israel and the Palestinians currently underway at the Camp David summit is completely unclear, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Israel radio Monday.
"The negotiations are in a fog and we have no guarantee that we shall end up with an agreement," said Eldad Yaniv.
"We hope the Palestinians will take the painful decisions (necessary for an agreement) and be more flexible, because they know the prime minister will not budge on the 'red lines' he has set himself," said Yaniv, referring to the points on which Barak has ruled out any compromise.
Communications Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who had a telephone conversation with Barak, also told the radio "for the moment nothing has been agreed at Camp David."
Yaniv also denied a report in the daily Haaretz Monday saying Barak was ready to recognize indirectly UN Resolution 194, granting Palestinian refugees the right to return to the homes they left during the hostilities leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
Immigration Absorption Minister, Yuli Tamir, one of Barak's spokespeople in Camp David, also described the report as "groundless."
"The Prime Minister has said repeatedly that he would not recognize the right of return of refugees to Israeli territory," she told Israeli radio.
Haaretz quoted an Israeli official as saying an agreement on the issue would state that Israel was ready to received some tens of thousands of refugees as part of a "family reunification" program, and that an unstated number of refugees could settle in a future Palestinian state, while the remainder would receive international aid to settle in the countries where they now live.
The text of the agreement would state that its implementation "will be considered to be the implementation of Resolution 194."
Israel has always insisted it will not recognize the resolution. One of Barak's "red lines" proclaimed before he left for Camp David was that Israel would never recognize the right of return for the 3.5 Palestinian refugees.
He also ruled out any Israeli recognition of moral responsibility for the problem of the refugees.
But an Israeli official quoted by Haaretz stressed that the resolution "does not attribute precise responsibility to Israeli for the creation of the refugee problem." - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)