US envoy George Mitchell
The US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, will not deliver during his upcoming visit to the region guarantees demanded by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to renew peace talks, French sources told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Saturday.
The guarantees include a complete halt in Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Israeli leadership must end ongoing retreat in face of Obama pressure
The sources affiliated with Abbas told the London-based paper that in meetings held between the Palestinian president and Mitchell in Paris and Brussels last week Mitchell did not present an American peace plan or a timetable for the talks.
"Washington cannot provide guarantees if it is unsure Israel will accept them, especially on the issue of Jerusalem," one source told the paper.
"The letter of guarantees must include a clause according to which the international community recognizes a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders, including east Jerusalem according to international law. But will Netanyahu agree to return east Jerusalem to the Palestinians as their future capital?"
Another factor in the US decision, according to the sources, is the belief that a letter of guarantees would cause Abbas to increase his demands before the talks in an effort to gain ground. "If the negotiations fail Abbas can go back to the original guarantees and these will give him more than the actual negotiations," the source said.
Abbas said on Tuesday he will not resume talks under the current conditions. "No negotiations," he told reporters at his headquarters in Ramallah. "We won't agree to resume negotiations without a full settlement freeze, especially in Jerusalem, for a certain period."