Yasser Arafat's Cabinet accused Israel in a meeting Friday of ignoring international resolutions that the Palestinians believe require Israel to transfer all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians by the end of the peace process.
Israel wants to annex 45 percent of the West Bank as part of a final peace accord between the sides, which would be in violation of U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, Palestinian International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath said after the meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for a week after Arafat walked out of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in anger over
Israel's insistence that the last, or third, withdrawal from the West Bank in the interim phase be postponed.
The suspension of the talks was a result of «Israel's repeated attempts to evade what has been agreed upon,» the Cabinet said in a statement.
Arafat was also furious that Barak has refused to hand over Arab suburbs of disputed Jerusalem as part of the next withdrawal, which was supposed to be carried out last month and give the Palestinians full or partial control over 39
percent of the West Bank.
The Palestinians hope to gain as much territory in the West Bank - and especially around east Jerusalem where they hope to establish the capital of a state - before the final status agreement that will outline the borders of the Palestinian entity.
"We haven't received answers from the Israeli sides concerning the questions we introduced in the trilateral meeting held with the Ambassador of the United States last week. The first question concurring the time ceiling for the further redeployment, and secondly the 6.1 %, whether we are going to do it as by agreement by the two sides, and the third issue whether we are going to continue with the frame work agreement, trying to reach a frame work agreement or do we go directly towards the treaty. Without answering these questions I think its not going to be reasonable to speak of meaningful negotiations."
SUPERCAPTION: Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator
But Israel has insisted that the fate of the suburbs be discussed in the talks on a permanent agreement during which the sides are supposed to resolve their competing claims to Jerusalem.
"When we go to negotiate with Israel, issues of final status on the bases of UN resolutions 242 we are surpassed to see that Israel is demanding to annex 45% of the West Bank. How can we make progress in these negotiations when neither of the intern part is accurately implemented? Nor the final status talks are getting anywhere? This is the real problem and this is the deep crises we are facing with Israel."
SUPERCAPTION: Nabil Shaat, Minister of planning and cooperation
Israel intends to put off the third withdrawal until the final status agreement, the statement said.
The sides had established a joint committee to discuss how much land would be included in the third withdrawal but have not reached agreement.
Israel at one time said it only wanted to hand over 1 percent of the West Bank during that withdrawal.
Israel has agreed in interim accords to withdraw to «specified military locations» but negotiators have been unable to agree on what the phrase means.
The Palestinians had hoped to receive most of the West Bank in the final
Negotiations on the last peace agreement began in November but have brought few results and a Feb. 13 deadline for the broad outlines of the accord will pass with nothing yet on paper.
The Palestinians hope to skip over the deadline and concentrate on reaching a final accord by the Sept. 13 deadline the sides have agreed upon.
But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office said last week that Israel still wanted to hold «serious, intensive and speeded-up negotiations» to reach a framework agreement.
No negotiations between the sides are being held at this time, Shaath said.