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Israeli official’s letter: Palestinians were planning to foil peace process

JTA

May 7, 2014 | 10:32 am

<em>Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, left, helps Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on April 1. Photo by Mohamad Torokman/Reuters</em>

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, left, helps Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on April 1. Photo by Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Israel’s national security adviser said in a letter sent to ambassadors to Israel from around the world that the Palestinians had been planning to foil the peace process long before the breakdown occurred.

National Security Adviser Joseph Cohen attached to the letter, dated April 22, a document that Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat submitted to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas proposing a strategy for the final weeks of the negotiations, Haaretz reported, saying it had obtained the 65-page proposal.

The strategy includes having the PA join international conventions, refusing to extend the talks beyond April 29, working to reconcile with Hamas and demanding the release of the final group of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, according to Haaretz.

Cohen, without coordinating with the Foreign Ministry, sent copies of his letter to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, the European Union countries’ ambassadors, the Russian and Chinese ambassadors, and U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Haaretz reported, citing unnamed senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

Most of the recommendations have been implemented in the last several weeks, which Cohen said in his letter showed that the Palestinians had planned to torpedo the talks even while negotiating their extension.

“The document serves as damning evidence of bad faith on the part of the Palestinians, which has unfortunately been demonstrated time and time again during these negotiations. It suggests that plans to reject American proposals and to pursue unilateral actions were in place well in advance, despite the unwavering commitment shown by Secretary [John] Kerry and his team in facilitating these negotiations, and the seriousness which Israel has demonstrated throughout the negotiation process,” Cohen wrote.

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