Haaretz today is reporting more details from the testimony given by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday.
The Haaretz story says that “Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to a new plan that skips over the first stage of the road map – eliminating terror and dismantling the settlements – according to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in his appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Since the unveiling of the road map in 2002, Israel has been opposed to negotiations on a final-status agreement before the first stage of the road map was implemented. However last week the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams agreed that following the Annapolis summit scheduled for the end of the month, negotiations on a final-status arrangement would begin. The agreement states that if a final-status accord is reached, it would be subject to the implementation of the road map by the parties. Israel and the Palestinians entered an intensive stage of the negotiations on Monday in a bid to formulate a declaration to be presented at the Annapolis conference. The negotiating teams, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Ahmad Qureia for the Palestinian Authority, met in Jerusalem and were to meet again Tuesday. U.S. Secretary of State Condolleezza Rice will decide based on the progress of the parties whether to come to the region again next week.
Continue reading A temporal "buffer zone" — but no timeline