Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and his chief peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, in Ramallah. (photo credit:REUTERS)


The Palestinian Authority leadership is expected to meet in the coming days to discuss the future of its relations with Israel, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said on Sunday.

Erekat said that he expected the meeting to take place before the end of this year to discuss previous decisions by PLO and Fatah bodies to suspend relations with Israel.

“There will be decisive and important decisions regarding all forms of ties with the occupation, including security and political relations,” he said.

However, he ruled out the possibility that the PA leadership would cut all ties with Israel.

Erekat confirmed that he had met in recent months with then-interior minister Silvan Shalom, who was entrusted with maintaining contacts with the PA leadership. Two meetings took place last July and August, Erekat said.

Erekat’s remarks came in response to a report on Israel Radio, which said that he and Shalom had met to discuss the peace process.

According to the report, Erekat demanded during the meeting that the two sides hold secret negotiations to draw the borders of a future Palestinian state. Erekat denied that he had requested secret talks with Israel.

He explained that he demanded that the negotiations deal with the drawing of the borders on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, the release of Palestinian prisoners and a full cessation of settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. He also demanded that Israel fulfill its obligation to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.

Erekat said that the Israeli government rejected the Palestinian demands and was now trying to convince the US that the Palestinians are opposed to the resumption of peace negotiations.

The Israel Radio report also said that the Israeli government had turned down the Palestinian demand to conduct secret negotiations.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post