Jordan: Israel and PA Did Not Meet in Amman

This afternoon, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced that reports claiming Israel and Palestinian negotiators were meeting in Amman were untrue.

According to reports in the Jordanian media, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Sabah Al-Rafie said the reports that have been circulating in the media were untrue and that the Foreign Ministry “is surprised about information being published based on anonymous sources without verifying it with the ministry”.  In addition, Al-Rafie said that Jordanian King Abdullah had managed to break the impasse in negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian negotiations, but that it had not lead to renewed negotiations any significant level.  She said the only contact Israel and the PA have had in recent days has been via written letters and that she expects contact and open negotiations without preconditions to restart based on those letters.

The initial report in question claimed that Jordanian Foreign Minister Juddeh announced a summit between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman this morning.  The report said a meeting had occurred in Jordan and that the announcement regarding talks was made by Judeh on Jordanian television this morning.  The report also said that Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho and more importantly PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, had finally caved to pressure from Jordan to restart peace talks.

In response to the contradictory reports, it was revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad would be meeting over the course of the next few weeks in a series of discussions.  However, both sides emphasized that the talks would be talks rather than open negotiations.  Since the beginning of 2010, Israel and the PA have not held any serious discussions, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring and the PA’s unwillingness to talk without preconditions.  The PA blamed the collapse of talks on Israeli construction inside the 1967 lines, which Israel said should affect talks since it is not in areas for negotiation.

In its response to the report, Israel said it was ready to return to the negotiating table without preconditions.  The PA said that it would only do so if Israel agrees to withdraw to the 1967 borders and cease all construction before any negotiations take place.