Three weeks after the end of the talks that took place between Israel and the Palestinians in Amman, Israeli officials revealed their version of the events, laying the blame on the failure of the talks on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Despite the mutual “blame game,” according to positions presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the topic of borders, it is clear that they are not much different than the positions presented by Tzipi Livni during the Annapolis Conference.y.
On January 25, a day before the Palestinians threatened to walk out on the talks, the fifth and final round of talks took place between the sides. During the discussions, Molho presented Netanyahu’s proposal on the borders of the Palestinian state.
Molho presented several principles:
The border will be drawn in a way that will include the maximum amount of Israelis living in the West Bank, and the minimum amount of Palestinians.
Israel will annex the large settlement blocs, without defining what exactly is considered a ‘bloc,’ nor defining its size.
It is necessary to first solve the problem of borders and security in relation to Judea and Samaria, and only afterwards move to discuss the topic of Jerusalem which is far more complicated.
Israel will maintain a presence in the Jordan Valley for a period of time. Molho did not mention how long nor what kind of presence.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who understood the principles, asked at the end of the meetings for a series of clarifications: whether Israel accepts the 1967 borders as a basic tenet upon which the two sides can negotiation, whether Israel accepts the principle of territory swaps, how many percentages of the West Bank is Israel interested in annexing, whether Israel has a map with border proposals, whether Israel is willing to evacuate settlements, etc.
“I’d be happy to answer all these questions in the next meeting,” said Molho to Erekat. But the next meeting never took place. A day later, the Palestinians said that they will not resume talks unless Israel freezes settlement building and accepts the principle of 1967 borders.