Palestinian sources in Ramallah said Tuesday that the meeting between Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Amman may be important but doubted it will yield results. This despite optimism expressed on the Israeli side.
"One cannot say progress was achieved, there is just an attempt to create atmosphere," one Palestinian official said. "It was an important meeting indeed as it's the first official meeting between the parties after a long period of political stalemate, but it's not a big deal."
The sources said there was no new prospect for peace as long as Benjamin Netanyahu's government continues to approve building plans beyond the Green Line. "If Netanyahu stops construction a bigger opportunity could emerge, but as things stand now the chances of that happening are not high," the official said.
Negotiators, Quartet envoys meet in Amman (Photo: AFP)
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum described Tuesday's meeting as a "farce and a waste of time" adding that it goes against the Palestinian people's aspirations.
Barhoum also claimed that the meeting will provide Israel with an opportunity to complete its plans for Judaisation and settlement construction. He called on the Palestinian Authority to cease the talks immediately.
Israel's optimistic response following the meeting put the Palestinians in an awkward position. As they repeatedly declare they will not enter into negotiations "just for negotiations' sake" some Palestinians fear that meetings such as Tuesday's may serve as a fig's leaf for the Netanyahu administration which could avoid making tough political decisions.
However, Ramallah sources admitted that it is not be easy for the PA to decline future meetings.
Israeli negotiator Attorney Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian official Saeb Erekat met in Amman on Tuesday after a year of political deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Jordanian FM Nasser Judeh (Photo: EPA)
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Quartet of Mideast mediators. The parties discussed borders and security and it was agreed that the sides will meet again next week.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said no breakthrough was achieved but that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere.
During the meeting Attorney Molcho conveyed a message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he should take the opportunity to return to the negotiating table.
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