Update: President Mahmoud Abbas, in an interview with the New York Times today (Monday), made the following points about the character of the future Palestinian state that he envisions:
- American-led NATO security force will protect borders for an indefinite period
- Palestine will be a demilitarized state
- Israeli soldiers can remain up to five years
- Settlements should be evacuated in five years
- No recognition of Israel as a Jewish state
In his column in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman revealed what he expects to be the main U.S. positions contained in the framework accord that John Kerry will present to the Israelis and the Palestinians within the next few weeks. Although Friedman did not indicate what the sources were for his outline of the Kerry document, the Israeli press is widely reporting his account as true.
At the same time, a description of the framework which was presented in a telephone conference call between Martin Indyk, the U.S. envoy to the negotiations, and leaders of Jewish organizations, has been leaked to the press, adding more details to the speculation about the Kerry proposals.
Here is Friedman in the NY Times on the contents of the Kerry document:
The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.
Among the elements under consideration, a participant in the call said, is a plan to compensate descendants of Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries after the State of Israel was created in 1948. That could give Israelis more of a motive to support a new Palestinian state.
The official, Martin S. Indyk, the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told the Jewish leaders that if the framework were to be accepted by both sides, the peace talks could be extended beyond the nine-month time frame set last summer by Secretary of State John Kerry. The new goal, he said, would be to sign a treaty by the end of 2014.
The framework, Mr. Indyk said, will not deal specifically with the political status of Jerusalem, which is claimed as a capital by both Israelis and Palestinians.
…the framework foresees the creation of a security zone along the Jordan River that would be fortified with high-tech fences, electronic sensors and unmanned drones, to protect Israel from attacks.
Indyk’s description of what the document will say about the issue of Jerusalem contradicts what were Friedman’s expectations on this crucial issue.
Indyk refused to comment on the conference call and the State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, denied that Indyk had made any statements detailing the contents of the Kerry framework accord.
Another report of the call claimed that Indyk said that according to the framework, 80% of the Israeli settlers would remain in place and the land on which they live would be annexed by Israel.
Not only is the Kerry framework apparently a vague document, which can be open to differing interpretations, but in the conference call Indyk said, “both sides could ‘lay down reservations’ to parts of the framework while agreeing to use it as a basis for talks.” Between the reservations and the vagueness it appears that the value of this document serves only to continue the negotiations, but not move them forward toward a final resolution. The peace process continues….
The table below is adapted from a table published in the Hebrew edition of YNetNews.Com on January 31 outlining John Kerry’s visits to Palestine/Israel. It begs the question: Is Kerry obsessive or just dedicated and diligent? And if the latter is the correct answer, than to what is he dedicated?
Kerry’s visits to Palestine/Israel — ביקורי ג’ון קרי בישראל
|Visit ביקור בישראל||Date תאריך|
|1.||19-22 במרס March|
|2.||7-9 באפריל April|
|3.||23-24 במאי May|
|4.||27-30 ביוני June|
|5.||15 בספטמבר September|
|6.||5-7 בנובמבר November|
|7.||8 בנובמב November|
|8.||4-6 בדצמבר December|
|9.||12-13 בדצמבר December|
|10.||2 בינואר January 2014|