Speaking to a group of Israeli journalists in Ramallah, Abbas said that the PA would only agree to extend peace talks with Israel, which were resumed in July for a nine-month period terminating next week, if Israel complies with three conditions; The release of a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners with none subsequently deported; a freeze on all settlement construction and that the next three months be devoted to negotiating the borders of a future Palestinian state. Israeli officials argue that borders cannot be finalised in isolation from other final status issues such as security arrangements and the status of Jerusalem.

Haaretz says that an unnamed Israeli official commented on Abbas’ demands, saying that the conditions “mean that he [Abbas] is not interested in peace,” as “he knows Israel cannot accept” such terms. An official in the Prime Minister’s Office was quoted by the Jerusalem Post saying that Abbas “wants to receive without giving” and questioned how Abbas could talk about peace when his Fatah faction is currently holding unity talks with Hamas, “which is known in the world as a terrorist organisation.”

Later in the day, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for five hours in Jerusalem in a session facilitated by US special envoy Martin Indyk, although there was reportedly no breakthrough on extending talks. Israel was represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and special envoy Isaac Molcho, who met with PA senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian General Intelligence head Majd Faraj. Erekat was one of several Palestinian officials who yesterday denied that the PA might be dissolved, following sharp criticism of the suggested measure by US officials. He told AFP, “No Palestinian is speaking of an initiative to dismantle the Palestinian Authority.”