Palestinian Authority officials confirmed Thursday that they were studying the possibility of establishing a confederation with Jordan, but stressed that this would take place only after the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines. The officials were commenting on a report in the London-based Al-Quds al- Arabi newspaper that claimed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a confederation between a Palestinian state and Jordan. The newspaper said that Abbas has instructed his advisors to provide him with “detailed strategic reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan about reviving the confederation plan.” Abbas reportedly met with seven top Fatah and PA figures and discussed with them the idea, the report said, adding that the PA president had asked that the meeting remain confidential. The report quoted an informed Palestinian source as saying that Abbas told participants that the confederation plan would come soon “and we must be prepared for it.” Jordan and the PA are scheduled to launch talks on their future relations on February 21, the report revealed. On Saturday, the Fatah Central Committee is expected to discuss the confederation plan during a meeting in Ramallah, according to the source. Jordanian politicians quoted Abbas as saying that the Palestinian state would not be able to survive without forging a confederation with Jordan. Abbas hinted that he discussed the idea with Jordan’s King Abdullah, when the latter visited Ramallah earlier this week. Abbas’s rapprochement with Jordan is the result of a Saudi-Qatari-Turkish alliance that backs Hamas and ignores the PA, the politicians noted. Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said in response that the confederation idea would be discussed only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Abu Rudaineh said that the idea was first discussed in 1988 and the two sides agreed that when a Palestinian state is established this option would be on the table. He said that any decision taken by the PA leadership would be brought before the Palestinians for approval through a referendum. PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef said that the confederation plan was just a “study” during the current phase. Abu Yusef said that any talk about the confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines “because Israel is hoping that a Palestinian state would be part of Jordan.” Any confederation would be announced only after a Palestinian state is established, he added. “What is happening now is only a discussion and a study about future options of a Palestinian state.” Diplomatic sources would not comment on the report.