Israel Hayom newspaper has claimed that US Secretary of State John Kerry has given up his wide-ranging peace plan and replaced it with "a gradual multi-step peace plan between Israel and the Palestinian Authority". Kerry has, senior Israeli officials have revealed, also asked the European Union to "step back … from its peace seeking efforts" and follow the American plan that entails gradual work, as he wants the Israeli and Palestinian governments to establish trust between them.
Kerry's change of plan is necessary, say the officials, because Israel will not accept Mahmoud Abbas's preconditions for the return to negotiations and Abbas will not accept Israel's conditions. "Under Kerry's plan, Israel and the Palestinians would enter into negotiations on core issues immediately, based on the recognition of two states, the right of the Palestinian people to independence and the preservation of Israel's security interests and main settlement blocs."
In the first instance, the Palestinians would receive an economic aid package and the Israelis would freeze settlement construction. Some long-term Palestinian prisoners held by Israel may also be released as a goodwill gesture.