U.S. Secy of State John Kelly on new efforts to improve the Palestinian West Bank economy

This is not a new idea, of course.

In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is one of its main proponents… It’s just that the time was never ripe, before. Or, that the Palestinians were doing something to prevent implementation of Netanyahu’s good intentions [which Palestinians believe is a way of distracting them from pursuing their political goals, such as self-determination].

In any case, here is an excerpt from remarks U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport just before leaving after a 42-hour visit to meet officials in Ramallah + Jerusalem. It was his first on-the-ground effort to prepare the way for eventual resumed Israeli-Palestinian talks:

“It’s our intention, and we all committed to this, every party, to continue our intensive discussions with the belief that they are constructive and they are in good faith, and that we intend to try to create the conditions for peace so that we can resume negotiations between the parties in a clear and precise, predetermined manner.

“We also spoke about other steps that could be taken in order to facilitate this process and to make it more conducive to success. Specifically, we agreed among us – President Abbas, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and ourselves – that we are going to engage in new efforts, very specific efforts, to promote economic development and to remove some of the bottlenecks and barriers that exist with respect to commerce in the West Bank, to move very rapidly towards increased business expansion and private sector investment in the West Bank, all of which, we are convinced, will help improve the economic security of the people living there as well as improve the security of the people of Israel. Economic growth will help us be able to provide a climate, if you will, an atmosphere, within which people have greater confidence about moving forward. But I want to emphasize – I emphasize this very strongly: This is not in lieu of, or an alternative to, the political track. It is not a substitute. The political track remains the primary focus. But this is in addition to, in a way that could help to facilitate that track, and I believe will begin to take hold immediately. I held discussions regarding these efforts with both Israeli and Palestinian officials, as well as with the Quartet representative Tony Blair, and other private sector business people. And this will be a focus of our work over the course of the next months in a very intensive way, and I will have more to say about this in the very near future…”
Kerry’s remarks at the airport before leaving the region today are posted here.

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Dan Meridor: another way to propose an interim agreement

A veteran Israeli politician, Dan Meridor, who speaks in sober and measured tones, says that the Palestinians have twice [in 2000, and in 2008] rejected proposals that would have brought about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meridor explained, in an interview [published by Al-Monitor] with Mazal Mualem, chief political analyst of Maariv, why this convinces him that only an interim agreement is possible now:

Al-Monitor: Where did negotiations with the Palestinians disappear to in the last four years?

Meridor: “The election campaign here created the illusion as if there is no Palestinian problem. Except for [Tzipi] Livni, no-one talked about it. A kind of fallacy was created here, that we can live with the situation for generations, and that is definitely not correct. It is an anomaly. For forty-five years we have an anomaly, and it is not important who is right. I think that we are right, but things can’t continue this way. Therefore I hope that the government that will be formed now will deal with it seriously, because a continuation of the current situation is dangerous for Israel.

There is an illusion that since there is no terror, we can continue this way. I think that the thwarting of terror is not only our success, but also Abu Mazen’s strategy. But if we continue in the same path we are on today, without clear borders, in the end we’ll have one state from Jordan to the sea, and this, in my eyes, represents a threat to the entire Zionist vision. I think that the Palestinians also have an interest in changing the current situation”.

Al-Monitor: So what actually happened here?

Meridor: “Four years ago, we ‘had arrived’. [Former Prime Minister] Olmert proposed a final settlement. He offered [Palestinian Chairman] Abu Mazen the entire territory, including partitioning Jerusalem, thus bringing an end to the conflict. Abu Mazen didn’t accept it. That poses a very big question for us. Why didn’t Abu Mazen grab that proposal with two hands, after he had dedicated dozens of years of his life to the Palestinian issue?

I don’t have a definite answer, but the fact is that, until today, the two very far-reaching proposals submitted by Israel to bring, at last, an end to the conflict encountered Palestinian rejection. I was involved in one of them, with [then Prime Minister Ehud] Barak and [then Palestinian Chairman Yasser] Arafat in Camp David [in 2000]. The second one, proposed by Olmert, I also observed from close up. I am ready even tonight to sign an agreement, but I am not convinced that the Palestinian side is ready”.

What does he think should be done?  Well, Meridor says that he does not want an interim [as opposed to final] agreement, but says that seems to be the only solution possible — at least for now. He says that Israel should announce an end to any further settlements [outside of Jerusalem, and already-existing settlements, which Israel intends to keep...]

And, he says, “We need to start to decide on the border, not to wait. An international agreement that is in the process of being formed is that the border will not be exactly like the 1967 borders, but will be based on 1967. That appears in Obama’s speech of two years ago, and appears in a letter from [then President] Bush to [then Prime Minister] Sharon. It even appears in the Geneva Accord of [Palestinian politician] Yasser Abd-Rabbo and [former Knesset Member] Yossi Beilin … Netanyahu delivered the Bar Ilan speech [2009], then went to the Knesset and said: I want the [settlement] blocs and Jerusalem. We froze [construction in] the settlements for 10 months, but Abu Mazen didn’t come. Therefore I don’t blame Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu], precisely because we went far on this issue and you have to be fair”.   These remarks are posted on the Al-Monitor website, here.

Now, the Palestinians have said they absolutely do not want either an interim agreement, or a provisional state [another aspect of the same proposal, nowadays].   They have also been astonished at the suggestion that both Yasser Arafat [in July 2000] and Mahmoud Abbas [in September 2008] said “No”.  At least, they might agree, neither leader said “Yes”.  That, they explain, is because the Americans [the brokers, both times] and the Israeli negotiators knew that these proposals did not meet the Palestinian bottom line.  In 200 + 2001, Arafat was waiting for a better offer.  In September 2008, Mahmoud Abbas was waiting for Ehud Olmert to be indicted on  charges of corruption — so, the Palestinians concluded, Olmert’s offer wasn’t firm or reliable — and in any case a better offer might yet appear on the horizon.  But, the Palestinian negotiators agree, they were close, at least in 2008.  [We have reported here and on our sister blog, www.un-truth.com, that the differences were narrowed to something less than 3% of the West Bank territory.]

And, the Palestinian negotiators have said that they want negotiations to resume at the point they ended in 2008 [with the same proposals on the table] –  but it is the Israeli government negotiators who have refused…

We’ve heard it before: Netanyahu reportedly ready to offer Palestinians an old Israeli proposal of temporary or interim agreement [which the Palestinians have previously rejected]

In advance of U.S. President Obama’s planned visit to the region on 20-22 March [during which Obama will reportedly spend about 3 hours in Ramallah, as compared to 45 hours in Israel] Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is reportedly planning to offer a “new” plan for arranging things with the current Palestinian leadership.

This has been heard before.

Meanwhile, the New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, in a joint press conference in Washington with Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, that he and President Obama were planning to visit the region in order to “listen”.

This has also been heard before.

Kerry bravely proceeded, anyway, saying that “the President is not prepared, at this point in time, to do more than to listen to the parties, which is why he has announced he’s going to go to Israel. It affords him an opportunity to listen. And I think we start out by listening and get a sense of what the current state of possibilities are and then begin to make some choices. It would be a huge mistake, almost an arrogant step, to suddenly be announcing this and that without listening first, so that’s what I intend to do, that’s what the President intends to do”.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Judeh said: “The most important thing is to have results. And I think that we’ve seen failed approaches, false starts, media events. I think we have to look at all of this and put it in perspective and see how we can produce results in the next phase. The Secretary and I are in full agreement that the window of opportunity on this is closing fast, and that makes it all the more important for us to work together in addressing this issue”.

[ Ynet is reporting here that on Thursday morning March 21, "Obama will depart for Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama will return to Jerusalem by noon, when he will be taken by Netanyahu to examine a model of Second Temple Period Jerusalem. They will continue to the Shrine of the Book, where Netanyahu will show him the Dead Sea Scrolls"... and so on].

Akiva Eldar reported in Al-Monitor here that high-level Likud officials believe that Netanyahu “really appears to want to jump-start diplomatic negotiations with Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen in an attempt to bring about a long-term interim agreement. This, he feels, is because a final status settlement is not achievable in the coming years.”

Again, this has been heard before.

Not least of all when the same view was recently expressed by Netanyahu’s previous Foreign Minister, Alexander Lieberman.

The thing is, none of the Palestinian leadership, from Mahmoud Abbas to Khaled Meshaal of Hamas, will accept an interim or temporary agreement. They believe that Israel will continue to create facts on the ground, mainly in settlements in the West Bank, that will make the Palestinian state — and any solution — non-viable.

So, this will be an extremely irritating move, at least for the Palestinians — and, at best, a waste of time.

The UN Human Rights Council [HRC] in Geneva has just received a tough report that relies on international law to say that Israel’s settlements are illegal and must be evacuated.

We reported on reaction to this HRC report in late January on our sister blog, here.

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Getting Real: A Jewish debate

“Daniel Gordis has it backwards”

Mark Baker [writing in The Daily Beast], in an argument worth following, has taken on Daniel Gordis [who addressed American Jewish leaders via an article published in Haaretz] — over the responsibility for the current situation:

Mark Baker wrote here that “For a long time, Daniel Gordis has been telling us to get real. He has written numerous books about getting used to a war without end, and has joined a growing chorus of commentators who preach despair against hope, realism in place of reconciliation…”

And here is Gordis’ latest piece of writing in Haaretz — the article that Baker is takgin issue with:

“The dangerous myopia of American Jewish leaders”

The progressive Jewish leadership calls for peace while Hamas calls for hatred.  When will these Jewish leaders stop denying reality and start grappling with the dangers in the real world in which Israel has to try to survive?  By Daniel Gordis:
“From coast to coast, as Progressive American rabbis continue to call for peace, they are inadvertently revealing their tragic inability to acknowledge that the world in which they once formulated their positions on Israel has changed almost beyond recognition…” This is posted here.

In his reply ["Daniel Gordis Has It Backwards"], published by The Daily Beast, Mark Baker wrote:

“But what is this realism that our leaders are supposed to acknowledge before bettering the world? Is it the realism that builds on road-maps or biblical maps? Is it the realism that punishes Palestinians for supporting a U.N. resolution that recognizes Israel alongside Palestine? … Or are we supposed to accept the realism that pits itself against peace by acquiescing to an infantile building game of settlement blocs?

“Is it the realism that will extend a temporary occupation into a never-ending system of control and discrimination? Is it this realism that allows us to accommodate ourselves to the fruits of occupation—the burning of olive groves and mosques, the culture of holy harassment that has come to typify day-to-day life in Judea and Samaria [n.b. - the West Bank]?

“Such cynical realism demands that Palestinians forget their losses, while we fetishize our memories. It makes Palestinian West Bankers dependent on Israeli utilities and then punishes them by withholding revenues. It means destroying Bedouin villages in the place where Jews civilize the desert. It commands us to assassinate their leaders until there is no partner left for peace.

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Israeli paper says Palestinian negotiators agreed to swap Sheikh Jarrah [and put it under Israeli sovereignty]

The idea of “land swaps” arose in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations since the Camp David talks in late July 2000.

The Geneva Initiative, signed in Geneva in December 2003 between representatives of Israeli and Palestinian “civil society” [who included or who were in close touch with the former Camp David negotiators] said these proposed “land swaps” should be carried out on a 1:1 basis [of equal size, and also of equal quality].

In an article by correspondent Barak Ravid published today, Haaretz included the following new information as background [it's left to the final paragraph]:

    “The Palestinians also showed readiness to make certain compromises in Jerusalem, during both the Camp David and the Annapolis talks. The Palestinians were ready to leave under Israeli sovereignty most Jewish neighborhoods founded in East Jerusalem after 1967, with the exception of Har Homa. Also, the Palestinians even expressed agreement to the plan for international administration over holy sites, and offered to leave the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood under Israeli sovereignty in a territorial swap“. This is published here.

Palestinian negotiators are supposed to have agreed that Sheikh Jarrah will be put under Israeli sovereignty? This is the first report about any such Palestinian agreement.

    Israel extended its law and administration to Jerusalem in June 1967, a few weeks after the Six Day / June war — a move tantamount to [but not quite] annexation. This move was declared null and void, and has not been recognized, by almost all UN Member States. At that time, boundaries of a new “Greater Jerusalem” were drawn up by the Jerusalem Municipality, including Sheikh Jarrah and a larger crescent of land extending in an arc from Ramallah in the north to almost Bethlehem in the South. Since then, Israel considers this as Jerusalem, more or less — although a large area of “Greater Jerusalem” was West Bank land before the June 1967 war and the subsequent Israeli military occupation. In 1980, the Israeli Knesset adopted a Basic Law declaring Jerusalem as its eternal + undivided capital [and annexing the Golan Heights].

There have been previous reports that Palestinian negotiators had indicated that French Hill, Ramot, and Pisgat Zeev to the north of the Old City [as well as Neve Yaakov, which was Jewish property under the Ottoman and British Mandate periods] could be left as is. It was not clear about Gilo to the south, near Bethlehem. But the Palestinian negotiators were adamant about the return of Har Homa [which Palestinians call Jabel Abu Ghneim], and they had also not given in on the very large settlement of Maale Adumim to the east, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

But never Sheikh Jarrah…

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“…the Israeli-Palestinian issue costs a lot of political capital”

Some weary and wary views of Obama’s victory:

Noam Sheizef wrote in Israel’s +972 Magazine today, here, after Barak Obama won reelection: “I think the White House has realized that the Israeli-Palestinian issue costs a lot of political capital, but brings very little results. Furthermore, the administration continues to believe in the Oslo framework, as if two decades haven’t passed. The Palestinian Authority hardly represents anyone these days, the government in Jerusalem is anxious to renew negotiations for the sake of negotiations, and the whole thing is clearly leading nowhere. The only way the White House can move things forward is by confronting the Israeli desire to maintain the current status quo”…

Open Zion’s Peter Beinart wrote, in a post published here that If Obama launches a diplomatic initiative that leads him into conflict with Netanyahu, it will be the Democrats in Congress, especially the ones who run the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, and thus spend their time raising money for the 2014 midterms, who will make their displeasure felt. And given how much of Obama’s second term fate depends on Democrats controlling the Senate (and not falling further behind in the House), he won’t easily be able to ignore them … And while the chances of a politically costly confrontation are high if Obama makes a renewed push for peace, the chances of success are low. Netanyahu, a heavy favorite to win reelection, vocally opposes the only parameters—the 1967 lines plus swaps—that could conceivably lead to a peace deal. Mahmoud Abbas publicly favors them, but in the four years since he negotiated seriously with Ehud Olmert, he’s grown weaker and less legitimate in the eyes of his people” … it’s worth noting that while Obama mentioned the peace process often during the 2008 campaign, he barely ever mentioned it this year. He didn’t bring it up in his convention speech, the debates or his acceptance speech. The 2008 Democratic platform promised a “personal” presidential “commitment” to Israeli-Palestinian peace. In 2012, that was taken out”.

Chrise Doy;e of the Council on Arab-British Relations wrote here that: “Received wisdom has always been that second term Presidents will be bolder. They do not have to face the electorate again. If Obama so chooses, he could certainly live up to this, as numerous challenges await him in his international affairs inbox. Much may depend on who he chooses as Secretary of State to replace Hilary Clinton – John Kerry and Susan Rice are in the mix … Obama may think twice before embarking on a direct confrontation. He blinked three times when clashing with Bibi over settlements. He will have to weigh up the pros- and-cons of trying to push for Israeli-Palestinian peace or keeping his distance. Given the limited prospects of genuine negotiations he may opt for the latter. His first test will be to react to any attempt by Mahmoud Abbas to seek non-member status for Palestine at the UN. My suspicion is that the US may still oppose but perhaps in not quite such a strident manner…”

Salam Fayyad to The Independent

In a recent interview with Donald Macintyre of The Independent, conducted just before Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad left for a visit to London, Fayyad said [in what Macintyre wrote was an oblique reference to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's negotiating stance]: “when someone says they accept the two state solution but they have overriding security interests in the Jordan Valley and they require a permanent or very long term [military] presence there and there are all these facts on the ground they have to preserve, what exactly is left?”

Fayyad added that “What the EU, indeed the whole world should do…. is to ask the government of Israel – any government of Israel a straightforward question: ‘Do you support as a solution to this conflict the emergence of a fully sovereign state of Palestine on the territory occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem? Yes or no?’” This profile of Salam Fayyad is published here

Given what has happened in recent months and years, Fayyad’s question can only be purely rhetorical [though it sadly appears to have been asked in earnest].

As to a solution, Fayyad offers no proposal for any solution, other than wishing that international policy makers would put pressure on Israel — though that is not happening.

“Either you give us the Jordan Valley, or we’ll take it!”

Muhammad Shtayyah, member of the Palestinian Negotiations team, told journalists in the West Bank village of Dura al-Qarya’ today that in direct Israeli-Palestinian talks sponsored by Jordan in Amman earlier this year, the Israeli delegation told the Palestinians straight-out: “Either you give us the Jordan Valley, or we’ll take it”.

He scoffed, with a laugh, when asked if the Israeli position wasn’t more nuanced. “It was exactly like that” — and in those words, he said.

According to reports in the Israeli media, Israeli envoys expressed some perhaps-ironic regret for the usual Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, saying they missed him.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last August that Israeli demands for the Jordan Valley were a main stumbling block in the negotiations, as we reported here.

Negotiations have restarted fitfully, and without any progress, two or three times after the point where some new proposals were made by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in September 2008 [who soon resigned when under investigation for corruption charges]. The Palestinian leadership then broke off negotiations at the end of December 2008, when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, a massive three-week military operation in Gaza that was purportedly aimed at Hamas targets [which were seen everywhere]… Under the Obama Administration, two attempts to restart direct talks were grudgingly attended by an unsatisfied Palestinian delegation. Both attempts ended abruptly when new Israeli settlement building was announced — though the U.S. continues to say that it’s aim is to get the two sides to reengage.
A third set of meetings, which the Palestinians did not want to acknowledge as negotiations and which they said they attended only out of courtesy, was held in Amman earlier this year, and led to a formal exchange of letters between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

Dr. Shtayyah [his name can be spelled a number of different ways in English, including Ishtayya] was elected to the Fatah Central Committee in its last General Conference in Bethlehem in August 2009, after which he was obliged to relinquish his post of Minister of Planning. He is still the head [apparently at ministerial-level] of the Palestinian Economic Commission for Reconstruction and Development, PECDAR, set up at the start of the Oslo process in 1993, and is also an advisor to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

He was the Palestinian negotiator in direct contacts with Israeli envoys in Amman over a period of weeks, earlier this year. These talks were held at the invitation of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, with active American encouragement. Jordanian officials acted as facilitators, and American and Quartet envoys were also present.

In 2003-4, the U.S. reportedly objected strongly, in private meetings, to Israel’s plans to extend The Wall down the length of the Jordan Valley.

But, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has recently openly stated Israel’s position that it would be necessary, for Israel’s security, to maintain a security presence along the Jordan River which is the boundary between the West Bank and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly complained about the Netanyahu position on the need for Israel to maintain a long-term security presence in the Jordan Valley.

Shtayyah said, “We asked the Israelis, ‘What are you afraid of?’” And, he said, “Israel told us they don’t trust Jordan”.
[note: ironic joke...]

Israel has consistently expressed — in public at least — great confidence in the peace treaties it has concluded with Jordan [in 1994] as well as earlier with Egypt [in 1979].

Shtayyah told this reporter that the Palestinian leadership believes there should only be Palestinian and Jordanian forces on the border between the West Bank and Jordan. He also said that Jordanian officials told Palestinian negotiators that they fully agree with this position.

“But”, he added, “we don’t know exactly what the Jordanians say [in phrivate] to others”.

THE LETTER [leaked draft]: Mahmoud Abbas to Benyamin Netanyahu

This is reportedly a late draft of THE LETTER that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is addressing to Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Abbas has been working on for months, if we are to believe the reports.

The Times of Israel [a new English-language internet publication] said they obtained it on Sunday 15 April, and they published it the same day — in English — here.

An Arabic-language text was leaked to Haaretz correspondent Barak Ravid some two weeks earlier. Ravid wrote about it on 4 April, and also Tweeted each of the four pages of the Arabic text, as we reported on our sister blog, www.un-truth.com, here.

THE LETTER [Draft]:

    Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu
    State of Israel

    H.E. Prime Minister Netanyahu:

    In 1993, the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Declaration of Principles (The Oslo Accords) and exchanged letters of mutual recognition with the Government of Israel.

    The Declaration of Principles defined its aim as the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which would begin with a transitional period, and culminate with negotiations on the all final status issues including Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugees, water, security, relations with neighboring countries, and other matters of mutual interest. Over the years, we included end of the conflict and claims, and the release of prisoners and detainees to these final status issues. May 1999 was set as the date by which negotiations on all final status issues would be completed and a comprehensive peace agreement between the two sides would be reached.

    The PLO and the State of Israel subsequently signed additional agreements including the Interim Agreement in 1995, the Wye River Agreement in 1998, the Hebron Protocol of 1998, and the Sharm Sheikh Agreement in 1999. We also engaged in negotiations on final status issues during the Camp David talks in 2000, the Annapolis talks between 2007-2008, and talks conducted in Washington D.C., Sharm Sheikh and West-Jerusalem in September 2010. Most recently, in January 2012, I dispatched a delegation to Amman, Jordan for exploratory talks in furtherance of the Quartet Statement of 23 September 2011.

    In the midst of these agreements and bilateral talks, the Arab states presented the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and the Quartet for Middle East Peace presented its Road Map plan of 2003. Signed agreements, international law, and UN Resolutions, all recognize that peace will only be realized upon the end of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land that began in 1967. Until such time, Article 7 of the Interim Agreement stipulated that both parties, Israel and the PLO, shall not take any steps that would prejudice final status negotiations.

    A fundamental obligation placed on Israel under international law and the quartet’s Road Map, was that it freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth. In a letter sent by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to Norwegian foreign Minister Holst in 1993, Israel also committed itself to maintain the educational, economic, social, and cultural institutions in East Jerusalem, conserve the Christian and Moslem holy places, preserve Palestinian interests in East Jerusalem, and not to hinder their development.

    Mr. Prime Minister,

    As a leaders , both of us have to face skepticism and opposition. In the quest of peace we have to help each other. We know that violence and terror whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis is not the way. I know that it erodes both of our public’s trust in peace. Therefore, I reiterate our full commitment to a policy of zero tolerance against violence. At the same token, I expect your understanding that settlement building is eroding the Palestinian trust in your commitment to reconciliation and the idea of the two states solution. The logic is simple: If you support the establishment of a Palestinian state, why do you build on its territory?.

    Mr. Prime Minister,

    Among the most critical components of the signed agreements between the PLO and Israel is the recognition that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip constitute a single territorial unit, the integrity of which must be preserved until a final status agreement is reached. As such it is subject to one law and one authority. In recognition of this, I have been determined to end the division of my people through national reconciliation, in accordance with my political program which respects signed agreements, recognizes the State of Israel, and renounces violence. With regret, the Government of Israel has chosen to take a position diametrically opposed to Palestinian national reconciliation.
    Aside from this, we continue to honor all our obligations, including the reactivation of the trilateral anti- incitement committee

    Mr. Prime Minister,

    We have responded in good faith to the efforts exerted by President Obama, and the Quartet in furtherance of peace, and we have welcomed the courageous Jordanian initiative aimed at putting the peace process on the right track, including through the submission of comprehensive positions on territory and security by the parties.

    The Palestinian delegation submitted our proposals on these two final status issues and we reiterated our commitments and obligations. We asked your government to also submit comprehensive proposals on territory, security, and to commit to a settlement freeze, and release prisoners. These were not preconditions but Israeli obligations. To our deep regret, none of these commitments were honored.

    Mr. Prime Minister

    Our historic Peace Proposal is still waiting for an answer from Israel.
    • We agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine-on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.
    • The establishment of independent Palestinian State that can live side-by-side with the State of Israel in peace and security on the borders of 1967 with mutually agreed swaps equal in size and value.
    • Security will be guaranteed by a third party accepted by both, to be deployed on the Palestinian side.
    • A just and agreed resolution for the refugees’ problem as specified in the Arab Peace Initiative.
    • Jerusalem will serve as a capital of two States. East Jerusalem capital of Palestine. West Jerusalem capital of Israel. Jerusalem as an open city can be the symbol of peace.

    Mr. Prime Minister,

    Twenty years ago, we concluded with Israel an agreement under international auspices which was intended to take the Palestinian people from occupation to independence. Now, as a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, social, territorial and security spheres. In other words, the P.A. lost its reason d’être…

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