PA preparing to resume talks with Israel

June 21, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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The Palestinian Authority (PA) is preparing to resume the diplomatic process with Israel, PA sources have told TPS, adding that this is a result of pressure from the US administration.

As part of the preparations, the head of PA intelligence, Colonel Majed Faraj, embarked on a series of talks with American security officials in the US.

Hussein A-Sheikh, the PA Minister of Civil Affairs, is expected to lead the Palestinian team during the talks when they resume, in place of Saeb Erekat, who died from the Coronavirus.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki will also be part of the team, the sources say.

Palestinian sources also say that PA head Mahmoud Abbas is expected to make changes to his security apparatus as a step to prepare the PA for the resumption of political talks.

Although there are no concrete proposals, the PA claims that it will seek to discuss expanding its powers in Areas B and C. Area B is under PA civilian control and Israel is responsible for the security, and Area C is under full Israeli control.

Sources in the PA say that they estimate that the Israeli side will be led by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defence Minister Benny Gantz due to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s difficulty to renege on his support for the annexation of Area C, support he expressed only a year ago.

Against this background, PA officials claim that the US is close to reopening the US consulate in eastern Jerusalem, which was closed with the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

The name of Hady Amr Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs within the Department of State, is emerging as the person who will head the consulate and serve at least in the early stages as the coordinator of talks.

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