Israel’s Prime Minister is ready to compromise and evacuate most settlements in the occupied West Bank for peace, a senior Likud official told Haaretz newspaper on Wednesday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that Benjamin Netanyahu knows that a peace agreement demands evacuation of as many Israeli settlements in the West Bank as possible, but he is still concerned about security.
Netanyahu, he suggested, would be willing to withdraw from most of the West Bank and evacuate numerous settlements as part of an agreement with the Palestinians if security demands were met.
The Israeli media is alive with reports of a “big announcement” about negotiations. The Times of Israel has reported repeatedly claims that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to drop his preconditions for a resumption of peace talks. According to Maariv newspaper, Abbas has dropped his insistence that the pre-1967 borders should form the basis for negotiations with Israel should the Israeli prime minister release long-serving Palestinian prisoners and halt settlement construction.
As John Kerry prepares to visit the region again, the US secretary of state said that there needs to be “some kind of progress long before September”, when the UN General Assembly is due to debate Middle East issues. Speaking at a press conference in Kuwait, Kerry insisted, “We do not have that sort of time.”