RAMALLAH, July 7 (JMCC) - Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
has denied reports published in the daily newspaper al-Hayat that Palestinians proposed a land swap of 2.3 percent to the Israeli side in ongoing proximity talks.
The indirect talks are being held through US envoy George Mitchell in a veil of secrecy.
I read this press report and it is regretfully incorrect, Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio. Our positions in the talks are held in complete confidentiality and I can confirm [they] comply entirely with international law
The principle of a land swap, in which Palestinians would exchange some land within the occupied Palestinian territories
for land in Israel
, has been accepted before by both sides in bilateral negotiations. The dispute between the two sides lies over the extent of the swap - Israel seeks to retain most settlement blocs in a final peace agreement.Settlements
are illegal under international law, and Palestinians have refused direct negotiations with Israel as long as it continues construction in areas occupied in 1967.