Akiva Eldar on what the Palestinians got in Washington – and what they will get in "direct" talks

On 7 September, Akiva Eldar wrote in Haaretz that “The Palestinians returned from the Washington summit with a sense that the Americans, for a change, understand them and perhaps favor their side [n.b. – this is what Palestinians hoped for ever since Obama’s taking office in January 2009]. The optimism prevailing in Ramallah is not due to cautious hope that Netanyahu will decide to divide Jerusalem. It stems from Obama’s promise that the United States will not surprise [emphasis added] the Palestinians, a formulation for years reserved for the ‘special relationship’ between the U.S and Israel. This is what Abbas received in return for his consent to open direct negotiations.

If among Israelis there is widespread concern that a final status arrangement with the Palestinians will turn out to be temporary , the Palestinians have learned that with Israelis, the temporary easily turns into the permanent. The impending solution was intended to combine the permanent with the temporary. The American mediators will strive to get the parties to sign a framework agreement that is based on the principles of the Clinton outline from December 2000: the 1967 borders; proportional territorial exchanges; disarmament of assault weapons; division of sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem based on the ethnic makeup of the neighborhoods; realization of the right of return in the Palestinian state. The signing of such an agreement in principle by Netanyahu and Abbas, with accompanying timetables, will pave the way to interim stages. The first stage should be delineating settlement blocs that will be freed of the construction freeze”.

This Akiva Eldar report is posted here.

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