A top Palestinian official, speaking to Al Bawaba, on Wednesday expected Israeli and Palestinian officials will resume US-endorsed negotiations in Egypt over a new truce.
Hatem Abdel Qader – a Fatah representative and a PLC member – said Wednesday , “there are serious discussions going on, backed by the US and led by the head of the Egyptian intelligence – Omar Suleiman – over the possibility of a meeting that is scheduled to take place with both sides in the upcoming days.”
Abdel Qader also added that the ‘brick’ was laid when he and two other Fatah members negotiated with top level US officials last month in Washington the issue of the new truce.
In response to an invitation by Democratic Party congressmen, Abdel Kader, Ahmad Ghunaim and Qadoura Fares visited Washington last month on their first ever visit since the start of the Palestinian Intifada in September 2000. In addition to meeting several members of congress, they also met with several Jewish-American leaders as well as David Satterfield – assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and former Middle East envoy - Dennis Ross.
Abdel Qader said, “We laid the brick for this new truce in Washington…as we were able to convince the Americans to drop their condition regarding the [dismantling of] Palestinian factions, by convincing them that instead, there should be a cease-fire that both sides are willing to respect and observe and the US is willing to push.”
Israel has repeatedly refused the truce proposals put forward by the current Palestinian PM – Ahmad Qurei – that does not include the dismantling of the Palestinian factions, mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The US has also supported Israel with this claim, as this issue formed an underlying condition within the Quartet’s ‘roadmap’ for peace.
While Abdel Qader denied that Fatah received any concessions from Washington vis-à-vis a new truce, he asserted that Washington is very supportive of these initiatives towards renewed talks for a truce. “We did not receive any concessions or promises, however they (Americans) are fully supportive of our initiative aimed at bringing some sort of calm to the territories.”
He added, “the Egyptians have now also started to act to bring about results on the ground…the Egyptians have been in contact with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and a meeting is also expected quite soon with Fatah so that a new truce can be agreed on.”
On another note, Abdel Qader mentioned another peace effort underway outside the realm of these talks for a new truce. He disclosed that there have been talks between Fatah and the third largest political party in Israel – namely ‘Shinui’ (Change) – over some sort of an agreement to bring about calm to the region. “We (Fatah) have communication with Israel’s Shinui party.” Said Abdel Qader.
Coincidentally, the Israeli daily Yediot Ahranot published that Israel’s Shinui party recommends that any proposal for peace should include the dismantling of the Netzarim settlement in the Gaza Strip. (Albawaba.com)
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