RAMALLAH March 23 (JMCC) - A leader of the Palestinian faction Fateh
said Tuesday that Palestinians are worried about the crafting of a new understanding between Israel
and the United States.
As a result of recent US-Israel contacts, there is a slightly
easier tone in Netanyahu`s speech, said Fateh leader Azzam al-Ahmed on Voice of Palestine radio. Yet there is no shift in the
substance of his positions. This raises great worries.
Ahmed said that Palestinians were concerned that Israeli officials in Washington may present to Obama officials a new position heavy in rhetoric, but lacking in substance.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
spoke at the annual conference of a major Israeli lobby group in Washington Monday, and was expected to deliver a new package of ideas to US officials on Tuesday.
Today, nearly a quarter of a million Jews, almost half the city's Jewish population, live in neighborhoods that are just beyond the 1949 armistice lines, Netanyahu told the American-Israel Political Action Committee, also known as AIPAC. Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
also met with US envoy George Mitchell in Amman Monday. Palestinians had demanded that Israel cancel a decision to construct 1,600 settlement
units in areas of Jerusalem
occupied in 1967 announced earlier this month.
Azzam said that Abbas had been given no US assurances that the decision would be canceled, and that the envoy was to return to Palestinians Thursday with a written response to Palestinian queries.
It seems there is
some kind of agreement between Mitchell and Netanyahu to use mysterious
terminology that arouses our worries more than previously, said Azzam. The US administration's delay and constant hesitation in providing responses to our questions worries us.
Palestinians and Israelis were expected to engage in indirect or proximity talks when a row broke out over the new settlement announcement. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the announcement, made during a visit of Vice President Joe Biden, an insult and asked Israel for a package of incentives to restart the talks.
Violence in the occupied Palestinian territories has been steadily rising in the absence of negotiations. Four Palestinians were injured late Monday night when Israeli warplanes targeted a workshop in Gaza City
. An Israeli soldier was also killed in a friendly fire incident when three Palestinians reportedly tried to attack an Israeli position along the Gaza border.
Israeli officials said they would open investigations into the killings of four Palestinians over the weekend in the northern West Bank