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Israeli, PA Leaders Meet in Secret, as Peace Talks Stall

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are at a complete standstill, with relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reaching a newfound low. And yet, contacts have been held behind the scenes in the last two weeks between officials from both Jerusalem and Ramallah, over the missive Abbas plans to send Netanyahu in the coming days.

Last week, Haaretz has learned, a secret meeting was held between the top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat and Netanyahu’s emissary Isaac Molho. While the two hold occasional phone conversations, last week’s session was the first meeting between the two officials in two and a half months.

Erekat and Molcho’s latest meeting was held on January 25, just 24 hours before the Palestinian deadline for low-level which were held at the time in Ammad, under the auspices of the Quartet and Jordanian King Abdullah II. Since then, the diplomatic process has again hit a snag.

In the meeting, Erekat relayed the content of the letter Abbas intends to pass on to Netanyahu in the coming days. The missive, which at first included ultimatums as well as threats to dismantle the PA, has been tempered and modified due to, among other reasons, intense U.S. pressure. The wording Erekat showed Molho in their meeting did not include such threat.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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