Friday, July 19, 2013

Kerry's attempts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks reach dead end

 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The attempts of the American Secretary of State John Kerry to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians have reached a dead end. Palestinian politicians on Thursday voted refused to endorse a Kerry's blueprint for resumed talks.  
According to the Israeli paper Haaretz Kerry was originally expected to announce the renewal of the talks on Friday. His formula was that he would announce that the negotiations would be based on the 1967 border lines, with land swaps – taking into account the current reality in the West Bank, i.e. the major settlement blocs.Also he was expected to say that the goal of the negotiations will be to reach the reality of "two states for two people" – Palestine as a Palestinian state and Israel as a Jewish state.These announcements were meant to address the wishes of both parties. The 1967 line referred to a Palestinian demand. Mentioning the 'Jewish state' took into account the Israeli demand that the Palestinians would not only recognize Israel, but on top of that the fact that Israel was 'a Jewish state'.
The  Palestinian refusal to endorse Kerry;'s formula however meant that there will be no announcement of a breakthrough during this visit of the American minister. The US State Department acknowledged this. "There are currently no plans for an announcement on the resumption of negotiations," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The Palestinian refusal came during a meeting in Ramallah where President Mahmoud Abbas presented Kerry's proposals. During the meeting the Revolutionary Council of Abbas's own Fatah movement demanded changes, but according to Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti also most other factions of the PLO rejected Kerry's proposal. The reasons, was, as was later confirmed by Amin Maqboul, the secretary general of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, that Israel refused to accept the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had said so explicitly that same Thursday afternoon after press agency Reuters erroneously had reported that Israel had agreed to accept the 1967 as a base for the talks.
Kerry on Friday met in Amman with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat before he returned to the US. Palestinian sources said that Erakat would brief him about a Palestinian demand that Israel had as yet to accept his formula and had to give the assurance in writing. Meanwhile Haartez reported that Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Hayehudi partner, a coalition partner in Netanyahu's government, threatened to leave the coalition if Israel would agree to accept the 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations. According to Haaretz some other ministers of Netanyahu's cabinet voiced similar opinions.  

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