Israelis And Palestinians Reportedly Close To Resuming Peace Talks

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"Israelis And Palestinians Reportedly Close To Resuming Peace Talks"

(Credit: AP)

The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz is reporting that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to announce this week that the Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to resume peace negotiations. However, the announcement depends “on the decision reached by the Palestinian leadership in their meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas, which began at 3:00 P.M.” Israeli time on Thursday. The basic outlines mirror what President Obama proposed in 2011:

The senior Israeli official said that Kerry would unveil in his announcement an outline for the talks: negotiations on borders will be based on the 1967 lines, with land swaps – taking into account the current reality in the West Bank, i.e. the major settlement blocs.

Kerry is 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[.]

The Arab League said on Wednesday that it backed Kerry’s efforts to resume talks. “The idea presented by Kerry is considered a suitable ground and atmosphere to start the talks, especially regarding the important political, financial and security elements,” the Arab League said in a statement.

“The delegation also expressed hope that this will lead to serious talks” on establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel and bringing a wider peace to the Middle East, the statement said, according to the Washington Post.

The European Union this week issued new guidelines that would ban funding and cooperation with Israeli organizations that operate in the occupied territories. Haaretz reports that the Israeli Knesset opposition leader sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to consider the EU decision as a wake up call to restart negotiations.

“The European Union document is a painful reminder of national security, economic and strategic threats attached to a peace process freeze,” Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich wrote to Netanyahu. “It would be fleeing from responsibility and a lack of leadership to continue passively responding to events instead of initiating them. The present conclusion must be unequivocal: an immediate entry into peace talks with the Palestinians with the real intention of reaching an agreement.”

Update

Agence France Presse reports that a top official of the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership “wants to make some alterations to Kerry’s plan… because the proposed ideas are not encouraging for a return to negotiations.”

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