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“Livni and Erekat Weigh Up Land Transfer Proposal”
by INN Adam Ross   
October 16th, 2013

A state official has told Israel's Maariv newspaper of a land transfer proposal being discussed in talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Talks are currently taking place between MK Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Saeb Ererkat the Chief Negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), after US Secretary of State John Kerry kick-started the beleaguered peace process a few months ago.

The newspaper reported Wednesday morning, that during the framework of negotiations a proposal has been tabled that would see Israel transfer land near Shechem to the PA. This would be compensated by Israel annexing other areas in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron).

 According to the report, Israeli sources have spoken about the matter to avoid reports being leaked to media. This has already happened frequently on the palestinian side.

Even though talks have received significant media interest, many analysts are not optimistic about their chances of success.

Last week, writing for the Arutz Sheva newspaper, MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud) expressed his view that it was impossible that palestinians would agree to the lines Netanyahu had laid down for the talks.

Netanyahu's position protects the non-divisibility of Jerusalem, demands Israel maintain control of the Jordan Valley, as well as annexing areas of growing settlement blocks in Judea and Samaria. In addition the prime minister has refused the absorption of palestinian Arab refugees to Israeli territory and demanded that the PA declare Israel as a Jewish State.

Netanyahu says that Israel needs to retain control of the Jordan Valley to maintain its security. He also argues that the flooding of Israel with palestinian Arab refuges would destroy the country's Jewish character.

According to the Maariv report, there is a suspicion in Israel that at the end of the nine months allocated for the Livni-Erekat talks, the US will publicize a document accusing Israel of torpedoing the talks. In order to prevent the publication of this document, the report said, efforts were being made to discuss the possibilities of land swaps. 

The recent spate of terrorist attacks by PA Arabs has led to calls by many MK's to curtail talks or at best to discuss whether they are worth continuing

Doubts were also placed on the progress of the talks by Israel's prime minister. On his recent trip to the US at the start of October Netanyahu reportedly told Americans in a closed meeting that "the talks were going nowhere."

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