RAMALLAH, April 25 (JMCC) - Palestinian officials have denied a report that indirect negotiations with Israel
would commence in May.
Thus far, no date has been set to resume indirect negotiations -- a matter that depends on us receiving final responses from US envoy Mitchell during his next visit in the region, probably during the first week of next month, Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo
told Voice of Palestine radio Sunday.
He said Palestinians were waiting to hear clarifications from Washington concerning the issue of ongoing Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem. Palestinians have demanded that Israel stop building settlements
before talks go ahead.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz
had reported that indirect negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis would begin no later than mid-May.
On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an official invitation to the talks from U.S. President Barack Obama. In the message to Abbas, Obama acknowledged that he was unable to extract a commitment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze construction in East Jerusalem. Read
But the president expressed confidence that Israel would refrain from significant actions in the eastern part of the city during negotiations. By significant, Obama appears to mean projects like the 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of East Jerusalem that were announced during Vice President Joe Biden's visit last month.
Obama wrote that the proximity talks would encompass all the conflict's core issues including Jerusalem, as was agreed in the Annapolis Joint Declaration in November 2007.
the whole story at Haaretz