February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has reiterated that the Israeli government will not negotiate with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, an official source said Monday.

"Negotiations will not take place with a technocratic government that is made out of an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. The current reality is that the other side (of the negotiations) consists of an organization that does not acknowledge Israel," an official said in a PMO briefing.

The official added that Hamas did not accept the conditions proposed by the Middle East Quartet, which includes the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, for relaunching the long-stalled peace talks.

"In this reality, it is very hard to walk hand-in-hand (with the Palestinians). We can only hope the Palestinian (National) Authority will not persist in its ties with Hamas," the official said.

The official also criticized the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that he is likely to continue the unilateral steps in the United Nations in the coming weeks.

In remarks to correspondents, the official blamed the Palestinians for the failure of exploratory talks held in Amman, Jordan last month.

"In the first round of talks on Jan. 3, Saeb (Erekat, Palestinian envoy to the talks,) submitted two offers regarding security and territory. Both papers consisted of known and recycled content, with an offer of a (West Bank) land exchange rate of 1.9 percent. No prime minister can accept such an offer," the official said.

A diplomatic source said Monday that Israel has not yet presented a concrete land swap offer of its own.

"We didn't even start making these calculations. As for now, nobody can say in complete certainty what would be presented to the Palestinians once we get to a negotiation process, and nobody knows what would be agreed upon," said the source who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

On Jan. 25, the Israeli envoy to the Amman talks, Yitzhak Molcho, presented the Israeli government's territorial stances: territory that would include a maximum number of Israelis and a minimum number of Palestinians, including a hint that Israel would not annex the Jordan Valley, but rather maintain a long-term military presence in the area.

"Erekat has raised some questions, but since it was the last round of talks, we couldn't get into deeper layers of these complicated topics," the official said, "The talks are now over, but as for now we still couldn't clarify their answers."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017