In the April 22 letter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, revealed that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat wrote a policy paper in March in preparation for a Palestinian rejection of American mediation efforts and Israeli overtures — 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, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
In fact, Cohen said, according to a copy of the latter published alongside the report (PDF here), Erekat had planned the maneuver weeks before Israel announced its refusal to release the prisoners — timing that, according to Cohen, demonstrates that the Palestinian leadership never intended to follow the peace talks through
The paper, Cohen said, serves as proof that Palestinian policymakers had recommended a strategy of unilateral moves “outside of the agreed negotiation framework” to Abbas as early as March, nearly two months before the April 29 deadline for the completion of the talks. Thus when Obama tried at their White House meeting to persuade Abbas to make progress at the negotiations, Cohen indicated, the PA president was already bent on torpedoing the talks and following a unilateral course.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) signs a request to join 15 United Nations-linked and other international treaties at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Abbas Monami)
“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.”