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Report: Talks reveal gaps between Israel negotiators

Aug. 27, 2013 11:01 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2013 8:23 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two rounds of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams have revealed major conceptual gaps between Israel's two chief negotiators, Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, Israeli daily Maariv reported Tuesday.

Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho is seeking an agreement of principles regarding final status issues rather than signing a permanent agreement with the Palestinians, a similar framework to the Oslo Accords of 1993.

Molcho's approach is more likely to win Netanyahu's support because he trusts him on "Palestinian issues" and is a close adviser to the prime minister, Maariv said.

Livni's approach is rooted in "classic Israeli negotiations" which necessitate big work teams which will, in principle, be able after nine months to sign a final status agreement with the Palestinians.

After an agreement on principles is achieved, negotiations would continue in an attempt to put them into effect during a "transitional" stage.

Livni has mentioned previously, according to Maariv, that reaching a final status agreement on the key issues such as Jerusalem and refugees will be very difficult, or "even impossible."

Maariv quoted US sources as saying that the concept of agreeing on principles, without signing a final status agreement, is prevalent among political circles in Washington.

A transitional stage would be rejected by the Palestinian team, Maariv added.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators formally resumed direct peace talks earlier this month after a hiatus of nearly three years, thanks to an intense bout of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

They are expected to last about nine months.
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