Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that he will continue talking with the Palestinians based on the framework deal proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
At the same time, Netanyahu is insisting that his government will not be obliged to agree to all terms of the US deal, which is based on the 1967 borders with land exchanges.
During a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu stressed that “Israel will not be obligated to agree with everything the Americans put forth in the framework agreement,” pointing out that: “The Americans are working to formulate the American positions. But I would like to emphasise that they are not Israeli positions, but rather American ones.”
Netanyahu then outlined Israel’s requirements for the talks: “We want to ensure that in the political negotiations with the Palestinians, we achieve two goals: one, we don’t want, I don’t want a binational state. I think that in this, I reflect the will of most citizens of Israel. And second, we do not want another country to be established here under Iran’s sponsorship that fires missiles and rockets at us or that launches terror attacks on us. We need to achieve both these goals.”
Kerry has been exerting marathon efforts in the region to push the peace process forward. According to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Kerry’s plan includes: “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.”
Friedman also suggests the plan calls “for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.”
Kerry hopes that his framework serves as the basis for further negotiations, and thus understands that it is subject to change. However, Freidman believes that Netanyahu will not be able to pursue this path without losing his coalition and becoming a “new leader” to form a new one.
Furthermore, Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israel, suggests that if the current negotiations do end up failing, then “Israel, which controls the land, would have to either implement a unilateral withdrawal, live with the morally corrosive and globally isolating implications of a permanent West Bank occupation or design a new framework of one-state-for-two-people.”
Brokered by Washington, the current round of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks resumed in July 2013. The aim of these negotiations is to achieve tangible results within a nine month period regarding the final status issues, including borders, settlements, Jerusalem and refugees.
However, six months into the talks, nothing has been achieved thus far.