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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Netanyahu, Arabs to present their cases to Kerry

Prime Minister Netanyahu heads for Rome on Monday to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry to warn him that Israel will ignore any call from the United Nations Security Council to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines by 2016. On Tuesday, Kerry will meet in London with delegations from the 'Palestinians' and from the Arab League who will urge Kerry (and the United States) not to veto a Security Council resolution that would call on Israel to do just that. This is from the first link.

Netanyahu, who is in the middle of campaigning for a March election, will also meet Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi along with Kerry.

"I will tell both of them that Israel stands, to a great extent, as a solitary island against the waves of Islamic extremism washing over the entire Middle East," Netanyahu said on Sunday in public remarks to his cabinet.

He said Israel now faced a possible diplomatic offensive "to force upon us" such a withdrawal within two years.

"This will bring the radical Islamic elements to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of Jerusalem. We will not allow this. We will rebuff this forcefully and responsibly. Let there be no doubt, this will be rejected."

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking on Army Radio, said it appeared the United States "is not eager to use its veto" on the Palestinian statehood issue but was seeking "maximum coordination" with Netanyahu.
Haaretz's Barak Ravid adds:
Kerry initiated the meeting with the Palestinians in London - as well as the meeting with Netanyahu in Rome - as part of his attempts to try to understand how flexible the two sides are, and whether there is a possibility of reaching a compromise. Kerry spoke by telephone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday and asked him to send Faraj and Erekat to meet with him in London; his invitation to Netanyahu was extended earlier in the week.
The meetings Kerry will be holding over the next few days with Netanyahu, the Palestinians, the Arab foreign ministers and his European counterparts are part of the American attempt to prevent a diplomatic confrontation in the Security Council over the Palestinian issue, or to at least postpone the confrontation for as long as possible.
"There are a lot of different folks pushing in different directions out there, and the question is can we all pull in the same direction," Kerry told reporters during a visit to Colombia. "That’s what we’re looking at."
"We're trying to figure out a way to help defuse the tensions and reduce the potential for more conflict and we’re exploring various possibilities to that end," Kerry told reporters in Bogota when asked whether there is a resolution the U.S. could support.
It is still unclear whether Kerry plans to present Israel and the Palestinians with a new proposal or a compromise. In any case, it will be very hard for him to achieve such a compromise. The Palestinians are determined to push their resolution forward in the Security Council, while Israel, which is now in the midst of an election campaign, has rejected any such move in the Security Council out of hand.
Will Mr. Moral Equivalence strike again? What could go wrong?

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