JPost: Israel wants negotiations with Palestinians to be direct, no Americans in the room

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that it has learned that Israeli officials want its bilateral negotiations with Palestinians that are scheduled to start on 12 December “somewhere in the region” to be “strictly bilateral” — without any American presence in the room.

However, the JPost says, the U.S. apparently still wants to be present at these “Steering Committee” meetings.

The Israeli team at these bilateral talks — which will be the first of three post-Annapolis tracks — will be headed by the tough Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Minister, the JPost says. It adds that “Running in parallel with the Steering Committee, and to oversee its work, Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are to meet every other week”.

The JPost says that the post-Annapolis process is expected to operate on three separate tracks: “The second track is the road map implementation track, including the US monitoring mechanism. The sides are currently in the process of structuring just how this mechanism will work … Much of the work of developing this mechanism is taking place in the US since Washington will be the judge of when various commitments under the road map have been met. The US, therefore, is entering unchartered waters where it essentially will need to serve as “judge and jury” and need to do so in a way that will satisfy both sides.

The third post-Annapolis track. according to this JPost report: ” is enlisting the Arab countries and the international community to produce a favorale regional environment that will advance a two-state solution. The idea is to get the Arab world and the international community to give both parties the space, time and legitimacy to make compromises. The next key landmark on this track is the meeting of donor countries in Paris on December 17. Both Jerusalem and Washington will be watching carefully to see to what extent the Arab countries that were present at Annapolis – and, as such, tacitly endorsed the idea of a two-state solution – would ‘their money where their mouths are’ and take practical steps to help create Palestinian governing institutions that would help make a two-state solution possible. Many of these countries have pledged large sums of money to the PA in the past but have not delivered, and their actions at the donors’ conference will be carefully monitored for indications as to whether they are indeed supporting a two-state solution. One of the goals of the Annapolis process is to de-legitimize Hamas in the eyes of Palestinians and the Arab world by showing the PA as a viable alternative to it and building up the PA”.

This JPost report is published here.

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