Israel has agreed to hand over additional West Bank areas to the Palestinians as a trust-building measure, Palestinians sources said Sunday morning when referring to US special envoy George Mitchell's efforts to resume peace talks between the Jewish state and the Palestinian Authority.
The claim has not been confirmed by Israeli officials.
Talking to Ynet, a Palestinian source said the offer Israel relayed to Mitchell and to Egypt included a series of relief measures, led by the transfer of Areas C (which are under full Israeli control) to the Palestinians and changing their status to areas under full (Areas A) or partial (Areas B) Palestinian control.
"The Israelis have expressed their willingness to seriously implement a real ease of restrictions, and not a fictitious one, which would help the Palestinian Authority," the source said.
"We will see how Mitchell's ideas are accepted by Arab states before we deliver response to the American side," he added.
The source also said that according to Mitchell's latest offers, the negotiations between Israel and the PA would resume in stages and on two different levels. According to the source, the parties would first clarify the basic guidelines of the talks on an indirect channel. If the first stage is believed to be a success, it would be followed by negotiations between high-ranking officials.
"In any case, it must end with a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders," the source stated.
Nonetheless, the PA sources found it difficult to estimate whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas planned to return to the negotiation table, but said that Mitchell's proposals guaranteed a real examination of the talks' framework and each party's need to meet its commitments.
"The same question remains whether the Israelis are serious or not," the source said. "We don't want talks about willingness to make far-reaching moves, but actions on the ground – led by a stop to settlements."
The PA leadership is continuing its consultations with international and Arab elements about Mitchell's new offers, which focus on efforts to get the parties back to the negotiation table.