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August 21, 2013 2:27 pm

Israeli-Palestinian Authority Negotiations Take Place Under the Radar

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations at the U.S. Department of State. Photo: State Department. Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations were held secretly on Tuesday in Jerusalem, AFP reported, citing Palestinian sources.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, reportedly met twice—first for two hours and later for one hour—with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas aide Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote for the Gatestone Institute that the PA wants peace talks held secretively because its fears “the reactions of Palestinians and the Arab world.” Abbas and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat Both Abbas and Erekat are “fully aware of the growing opposition among Palestinians and Arabs to the resumption of the peace talks with Israel under the terms of the U.S. Administration,” according to Toameh.

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“That is why the two men do not want to be seen sitting in a room with any Israeli representative,” he wrote. “They know that any photo of Erekat and Livni shaking hands or sitting together would provide their enemies with additional ammunition.”

Toameh added that the anti-Israel culture that the PA has fostered among the Palestinian people also leads to a desire to keep Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations away from media coverage.

“For many years, the Palestinian Authority has been supporting boycott campaigns against Israel, as well as organizations combating ‘normalization’ with Israelis,” Toameh wrote. “If Palestinian children are condemned for playing football with Israelis, why should it be acceptable for Erekat to be talking with Livni?”

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