Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes


Egyptian Officials to Meet Abbas in Ramallah

Ma'an News Agency

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit and Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will meet President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday in efforts to revive stalled peace negotiations.
The Egyptian officials were expected to try and convince Abbas to accept a partial freeze on construction in settlements, excluding settlements that Israel intends to annex in a peace agreement, the official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA said.
The report said the proposal was a US initiative aimed at restarting direct talks between the PLO and Israel by mid-November, and that it had already been conveyed to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Peace talks, relaunched in Washington on 2 September, reached a deadlock within weeks over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to extend temporary restrictions on settlement building on occupied Palestinian land. Despite pleas from the international community -- including the US, UN and EU -- full scale settlement construction resumed across the West Bank as the freeze expired on 26 September.
The proposal which Abu Gheit and Sulieman will present to Abbas will come with a promise from the US administration that Washington will exert pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories in order to reach a peace agreement within one year, WAFA said.
Israeli settler leaders immediately rejected the reported proposal, one urging the international community to "realize that talk of halting development of Jewish communities in Yehuda and Shomron [the West Bank] is a total waste of time and effort."
"This region is the core of our national homeland and heritage. Those who truly wish to assist a process that will bring peace and stability to the region should acknowledge that Israel's pull out of Gaza was a great mistake that caused tragedy for the populations on both sides of the border. This type of mistake should not be repeated," said David Ha'ivri, director of the Shomron Liaison Office.
"I invite the Egyptian leaders to visit the Jewish communities in the Shomron in order to see for themselves that this positive development is not something that is about to come to an end and is actually a great benefit to the region," Ha'ivri added.
At an Arab League summit in Sirte, Libya, earlier this month, Arab leaders opted to give the US one month to resolve the crisis, after which they would reconvene to discuss alternatives to negotiations. PLO official Nabil Sha'ath said negotiations were stalled so the White House could sort out US mid-term elections in early November, during which the US president's Democratic party is expected to lose seats.
While land-swaps of settlement blocs for land annexed by Israel in 1948 have been proposed as part of a two-state solution, details of potential swaps have yet to be agreed on.