Resumption of 'negotiations' not yet a done deal
The New York Times reports that the resumption of 'negotiations' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' is not yet a done deal
(Hat Tip: Memeorandum
In announcing Friday that Israelis and Palestinians had established “a
basis” for resuming direct peace negotiations, Mr. Kerry included a
caveat. “If everything goes as expected,” he said, chief negotiators for
each side will convene in Washington “within a week or so.”
That, apparently, was a reference to the prisoner deal, negotiated in a
series of hurried telephone calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
of Israel on Friday evening as Mr. Kerry was eager to get home but
determined not to leave empty-handed after six visits in four months.
It remained unclear on Saturday how many Palestinian prisoners were to
be released and when, though it was unlikely to happen before the first
meeting in Washington. It was also not clear whether the vote required
was of Mr. Netanyahu’s full cabinet or a smaller circle of top ministers
known as the security cabinet, both of which meet regularly on Sundays;
Mr. Netanyahu has secured the support of several key ministers.
And some of the deal's terms have started to leak out.
The formula Mr. Kerry negotiated, officials said, involves the United
States’ making a declaration about the borders and settlements, and
recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, that Mr. Netanyahu and
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority can distance
themselves from while still negotiating.
The Palestinian political leadership expressed dissatisfaction with that
formula on Thursday, but when it became clear that Israel would not
budge further, the focus on Friday turned back to prisoners, an issue
with profound emotional resonance on both sides. Palestinians consider
the men in Israel’s jails, particularly those serving since before Oslo,
prisoners of war. Israelis call them terrorists. Some have been
convicted of multiple murders, and the families of their victims have
already made passionate public appeals against the release.
“Releasing terrorists in order for there to be negotiations and a
meeting in Washington in a week’s time — we’re getting nothing in
return,” Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon complained on Israel Radio.
“They’re not in prison for traffic violations. They’re major terrorists
who have murdered, some with their own hands. They’ve kidnapped
soldiers, buried them alive, shocking stories.”
Mr. Netanyahu’s office refused to discuss the deal on Saturday. Saeb
Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said he had “committed to John
Kerry and President Abbas to shut up for 48 hours until we finalize
everything, but things are looking good.”
If the US actually makes a statement that we should go back to the 1949 armistice lines, we should be all over that one. That's outrageous and would cause permanent damage.
Labels: 1949 armistice lines, Middle East peace process, negotiations without preconditions, Palestinian terrorists