Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Israel deputy prime minister Shaul Mofaz on Sunday, but a leading Palestinian negotiator said that should not be seen as a renewal of stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“I do not know what Mofaz will bring with him, but it is not going to be negotiations,” Saeb Erakat told Voice of Palestine Radio, according to Haaretz.
Abbas and Mofaz are scheduled to meet at Abbas’ offices in Ramallah.
High-level Israeli-Palestinian talks have been on hold since October 2010 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend his unilateral 10-month moratorium on settlement expansion in the West Bank. The United States and other governments have urged a return to the dialogue without preconditions while criticizing settlement building.
Mofaz had asked for the meeting prior to his bringing his Kadima party into Netanyahu’s coalition last month, according to Haaretz.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is engaged in national unity talks with the Fatah faction Abbas heads, has called on the Palestinian leader to cancel the meeting, Haaretz reported. The meeting would give “the occupation [Israel] opportunities for committing more crimes against our people,” the newspaper reported a Hamas spokesman as saying.