The Jerusalem Post (Editorial)
January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Fatah Central Committee member and former security commander Muhammad Dahlan is optimistic that peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel will resume in the coming weeks, according to an interview with Al-Hayat published on Friday.

Dahlan revealed that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have been holding intense contacts with the Quartet (representing the US, the UN Secretariat, the EU and Russia) in efforts to formulate a unified position regarding the resumption of peace talks.

The PA hopes that Israel accept the new proposal, Dahlan said. "We hope the struggle of chairman Abu-Mazzen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas) against the previous negotiating mechanism will bear fruit already in the coming weeks," Dahlan was quoted as saying by the London-based newspaper.

However, Dahlan reportedly went on to stress that "the Palestinian people prefer to be cautious when it comes to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu."

He reiterated the PA's demand that Israel freeze settlement construction before talks are renewed and warned that the situation could deteriorate quickly. "The current settlement [activity] in Jerusalem is aimed at taking it [the Jerusalem issue] off the negotiating table," Dahlan said.

"All we seek is a year or 10-month building freeze, during which a permanent agreement will be achieved," Dahlan said.

The PA will insist that the '67 borders be the final borders of the future Palestinian state, he said, stressing that the Palestinians "will not accept any manipulation on this issue."

Despite the clear demands the PA was prepared to reach a compromise in order to achieve a comprehensive peace deal. "Each side is insisting on its demands, but we are prepared to make painful decisions. Any compromise will be at the expense of all sides," Dahlan told Al Hayat.


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