By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
The recent talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have reached a standstill, with the Israeli negotiators refusing to present borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. With the deadline set for Thursday January 26 by Palestinian negotiators, and no progress having been made, the talks have been declared a failure.
Since the state of Israel was created in 1948, the Israeli government has never declared its borders, and has continually expanded its territory through the use of force. Currently, the Israeli military controls more than 85% of historic Palestine, and Israeli settlements continue to expand further onto Palestinian land in violation of international law.
During the five exploratory meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials in Amman, Jordan, over the last several weeks, the Palestinian Authority leaders attempted to get a commitment from Israeli officials on firm borders between an Israeli and Palestinian state, but Israel’s representative to the meetings, Isaac Molho, refused to present a position on the issue of borders.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the King of Jordan that the talks were unproductive given Israel’s refusal to present any option on the border issue, and plans to meet with other Arab leaders next week to plan the next steps.
Abbas said he will not close the door on potential negotiations with the Israelis, if the Israeli government shows a willingness to present borders as a starting point for any future talks.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said that he is hesitant to declare the talks a failure, adding that he plans to consult with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the Quartet for Middle East Peace on the next steps.
Previous attempts at negotiations ended with Israeli pledges to end settlement construction, but those pledges were quickly broken, often before the talks were even completed. Over 500,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – most of whom have moved into settlements in the nineteen years since the Oslo Agreement was signed to declare an end to the conflict – in direct violation of that agreement.