Mid East Settlement On The Horizon? : Israel to annex settlement blocs, but not Jordan Valley- PA Gives Qualified Approval
The proposal that came up during the Israeli-Palestinian talks in Amman effectively means a withdrawal from 90% of the West Bank, and is very similar to the one proposed by Tzipi Livni during the 2008 Annapolis Conference.
Three weeks after the end of the talks that took place between Israel and the Palestinians in Amman which took place under the patronage of the King of Jordan, Israeli officials revealed their version of the events, laying the blame on the failure of the talks on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Despite the mutual “blame game,” according to positions presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the topic of borders, it is clear that it is not much different than the positions presented by Tzipi Livni during the Annapolis Conference.
The five rounds of talks in Amman were the result of international pressure placed on Abbas immediately after his speech to the UN General Assembly in September 23 2011. On that same day, the members of the Quartet - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - declared a new outline for talks and called on both sides to respond positively.
After a few weeks, both Israel and the Palestinians responded to the request with a “yes, but…” with both sides presenting a list of reservations. A month after the assembly, delegations from the Quarter arrived for first-round talks with Israeli and Palestinian representatives.
According to a top Israeli official, on the day of the meeting, the prime minister’s envoy, Isaac Molho, arrived at the hotel and entered the meeting room only to discover that his Palestinian counterpart, Saeb Erekat, did not make it to the meeting. Mohammad Shtayyeh, a junior official and member of Fatah’s central committee was sent in his stead. The Palestinian side did not agree to sit with Molho in the same room, and the envoys were resigned to hopping between different rooms in the hotel in order to hold discussions between the two sides.
After a week, the Quarter envoys arrived in Jerusalem, although the Palestinians refused once more to sit in the same room as Molho. ‘There is an empty chair in the room,’ said Molho to the envoys at the meeting. ‘Where is Saeb Erekat?’
For over a month, the Quarter envoys attempted to bring the Palestinians to the negotiation room, but only when King Abdullah II began to apply pressure did things begin to move. The king came to Ramallah on a rare trip and pressured Mahmoud Abbas. Finally, on February 3, the Jordanians were able to bring together Erekat and Molho in Jordan’s Foreign Ministry in Amman.