Wednesday, October 10, 2007
PA team says pre-summit document to anchor final settlement
The joint document Israel and the Palestinians are negotiating will be the basis for the final settlement between the two sides, Ahmed Qureia, head of the Palestinian team, said yesterday in an interview. PA team says pre-summit document to anchor final settlementBy Avi IssacharoffThe joint document Israel and the Palestinians are negotiating will be the basis for the final settlement between the two sides, Ahmed Qureia, head of the Palestinian team, said yesterday in an interview. Speaking to the Arab and Palestinian media, Qureia said that unless the document is ready by the scheduled date of the summit in Annapolis, Maryland, the Palestinians will have to reconsider whether they will attend. The summit is expected to take place in late November. Qureia, who has served as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in the past under Yasser Arafat, added that it is necessary to agree on a timetable for talks before the summit. The chief Palestinian negotiator estimates that five to six months will be necessary to complete final negotiations, if they are done "seriously." Qureia stressed that the basic points of an agreement are clear to both sides and that the task now is to formulate these in a clear document that leaves no ambiguities. "If the document is drafted with ambiguities, it is not necessary. Every discussion must include the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem," he said, referring to the future status of Gaza and the possibility that Israel may try to delay negotiations over the future of Jerusalem. "The joint document will anchor international agreements, the Arab peace initiative and the vision of President Bush," Qureia said. "The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will have to establish a position in the document on issues like borders." Qureia went further and offered an example of the kind of detail he expected in the document: "The border [between Israel and the PA] will be on the basis of the 1967 lines, with the possibility of making limited changes that will not undermine the natural resources and territorial contiguity." He said that "this also applies to Jerusalem, the refugees, the settlements, water and all the other issues in the final settlement." The Palestinian negotiator also told the Arab media that the PA will give the Arab League's monitoring committee on the Arab peace initiative regular updates on the negotiations. Also yesterday, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said that the Islamist group would ask Egypt and Saudi Arabia to reconsider their participation in the summit in the U.S. According to Al Quds, an East Jerusalem daily, rejectionist Palestinian groups would convene a conference in Damascus in opposition to any concessions the Palestinian Authority planned to make.