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Palestinians Cautiously Prepare for Direct Talks with Israel

Palestinians Cautiously Prepare for Direct Talks with Israel

Friday, 18 June, 2021 - 06:30
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AFP)

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is getting ready for rebooting direct negotiations with the new Israeli government, but is doing so without great optimism about a breakthrough taking place, a well-informed political source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Israel’s newly formed government is viewed as fragile and unable to take decisive decisions, explained the source, who spoke under conditions of anonymity.

Washington has some understanding about the vitality of restarting and expanding PNA negotiations with the Israeli government.

“Consultations with the US have been ongoing for a while, and they, in turn, have been in contact with members of the new Israeli cabinet,” revealed the source, adding that there is consensus around pushing negotiations forward.

However, a lack of pressure from Washington on Israel may inhibit the chances of substantial development.

“We do not expect enough US pressure on the new government, nor do we expect a breakthrough, because of the composition of the Israeli government,” said the source, adding that the circumstances that surrounded the formation of the new Israeli cabinet and the nature of the Israeli opposition may constrain negotiations.

For the time being, current Palestinian officials are partaking in consultations with Washington. But PNA President Mahmoud Abbas is making internal arrangements for anticipated direct talks with Israel.

The arrangements include appointing a successor to the late Saeb Erekat, who headed the PNA’s Negotiations Affairs Department.

Erekat’s successor will be tasked with forming negotiating teams.

Abbas's preparations, however, do not mean the PNA is going to rush into political negotiations with Israel.

According to talks with the Biden administration, Palestinians are waiting to discuss building confidence between the two parties through specific measures.

An Israeli media report predicted the Palestinians would request expanding PNA jurisdiction in the West Bank as a precursor for talks mediated by the US administration.

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