Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume peace talks with Israel only after US Secretary of State John Kerry gave him a letter guaranteeing that the basis of the negotiations will be Israel’s pre-1967 borders, a senior Palestinian official said yesterday.
The official, who is a close aide of the Palestinian leader and privy to internal discussions, said the US letter also stipulated that both sides must refrain from taking any steps that would jeopardize the outcome of the talks. He said Israel is not to issue new tenders for Jewish settlements in the West Bank, while the Palestinians are not to pursue diplomatic action against Israel at any international organizations.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to brief the media.
There was no immediate comment from the State Department.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces sharp opposition from within his majority coalition to such a move. One key ally, Economics Minister Neftali Bennett, has threatened to pull his Jewish Home Party out of the government altogether if the prime minister agrees to the border conditions.
Kerry announced late Friday that the Israelis and Palestinians will meet soon in Washington to work out the final details on an agreement to relaunch talks that collapsed in 2008. The US diplomat did not offer details, saying that the deal is “still in the process of being formalized.”
Israel announced on Saturday it will release some Palestinian prisoners as a “gestur