Friday, August 16, 2013

So, Did They Talk?

In a week when the headlines from Egypt took over everyone's attention, this is what seemed to happen here in Israel:

RAMALLAH // Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have resumed under a veil of secrecy and in the absence of their superpower broker: the United States.

Negotiators met for five hours at an undisclosed location in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening but requested that US officials - including Martin Indyk, Washington's Middle East peace envoy - not attend, Israel's media reported yesterday...Officials on both sides have refused to comment on the topic.

In an attempt to protect the talks from collapse, Mr Kerry has requested both sides to maintain silence on the details of the negotiations


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Thursday all key issues were discussed at a new round of peace talks with Israel, but he declined to elaborate because of an agreed news blackout.  "We can't speak now about what happened," he told a joint press conference with UN chief Ban Ki-moon at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

At the request of Washington, Israel and the Palestinians have so far maintained a strict news blackout on the US-brokered talks.  "We discussed the issues which are always on the table: borders, Jerusalem, settlements," Abbas said.  "Until now we didn't speak about what happened (in the talks) and when there is something we shall tell you."

There is this, though:

Hamas exposes details of Kerry-Abbas meeting in Amman

...Hamas published a report about the details of the serious outcomes of the two meeting held between U.S. envoy John Kerry and PA president Mahmoud Abbas during July in Amman.

According to the report, the resumption of talks will end the historical Palestinian-Israeli conflict in addition to normalizing the relations between the Arab league and the Israeli occupation in return of recognizing a Palestinian state within borders to be agreed upon...The borders will be declared by the negotiating parties and based on land exchange plan...settlement construction plans will be frozen except the large settlement schemes located in the vicinity of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.

The intended agreement will provide the Israeli settlers in the frozen settlements with the Palestinian or Israeli citizenship or both together, while it will allow some Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza to
reunite, others will be encouraged to immigrate to Arab countries...According the agreement, east Jerusalem will be under international, Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian administration for ten years. Some prisoners who served more than 20 years in Israeli jails and do not pose a security threat will be released.


UPDATE (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

As far as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, we have to get to the root cause of the problem and the root cause was and remains the persistent refusal to recognize the Jewish State in any boundary. It doesn’t have to do with the settlements – that’s an issue that has to be resolved, but this is not the reason that we have a continual conflict. The conflict preceded the establishment of a single settlement by half a century and when we rooted out all the settlements in Gaza, the attacks continued because of this basic opposition to the Jewish State. I think it’s important to understand that if we build a few hundred apartments in Gilo or Ramot, or the other Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, or in urban blocks that everybody knows, including the Palestinian negotiating team...will be part of the final peace map in Israel...The real issue is how to get a demilitarized Palestinian state to finally recognize and accept the one and only Jewish State...I welcome you once again, Mr. Secretary, to Jerusalem."


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