Israel’s national security chief sent a letter to the White House, the EU and numerous ambassadors including hard proof that Palestinian Authority officials were devising measures to thwart the peace process even before Israel refused to release a fourth round of Palestinian prisoners at the end of March, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported.
In his letter dated April 22, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, included a policy paper written by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in preparation for a Palestinian rejection of American mediation efforts and Israeli overtures. The paper was written in March, nearly a month before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a unilateral move to sign 15 international conventions, ostensibly in response to Israel’s refusal to honor its commitment to release the final round of prisoners.
As Erekat had planned the maneuver weeks before Israel announced its refusal to release the prisoners, Cohen argues, the Palestinian leadership never intended to follow through with peace talks in good faith.
Cohen sent copies of Erekat’s policy paper with his letter to his US counterpart Susan Rice, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, all Israel-based EU ambassadors, and ambassadors from China, Russia and other countries. He appealed to the recipients to “draw conclusions” as to the Palestinians’ “bad faith” and responsibility for the failure of the latest round of peace talks.
The 65-page Erekat document, which contained a “series of recommendations” for unilateral Palestinian actions, was presented by Erekat to Abbas on March 9, prior to Abbas’s March 17 visit to the United States and his meeting at the White House with US President Barack Obama.
In the document, Erekat recommended that the Palestinian Authority apply to international treaties such as the Geneva Convention.
He also recommended reconciliation with Hamas, revealing that the push for a unity government with the terrorist organization, which does not recognize Israel, began long before negotiations with Israel reached a stalemate.
This, Cohen said, proved that the Palestinians’ unilateral moves, supposedly direct responses to perceived Israeli intransigence, were actually “premeditated” and “calculated” steps aimed at sinking the peace process and American mediation efforts.
The paper, Cohen said, serves as proof that Palestinian policymakers had recommended a strategy of unilateral moves “outside of the agreed negotiation framework” nearly two months before the April 29 deadline for the completion of the talks. Thus when Obama unsuccessfully tried at their White House meeting to persuade Abbas to make progress at the negotiations, the PA president was already set to torpedo the talks.
“The document serves as damning evidence of bad faith on the part of the Palestinian side,” Cohen wrote. “It suggests that plans to reject American proposals and pursue unilateral actions were in place well in advance, despite the unwavering commitment shown by Secretary Kerry and his team in facilitating these negotiations, and the seriousness which Israel has demonstrated throughout the negotiation process.”