Israelis and Palestinians Disagree on Format of Washington Peace Negotiations

Talks Are Expected To Resume Monday Evening

getty images

By Reuters

Published July 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli and Palestinian officials put forward clashing formats for peace talks due to resume in Washington on Monday for the first time in nearly three years after intense U.S. mediation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to bring the negotiators together in the evening and on Tuesday to renew talks that broke down in 2010 over Israel’s settlement of occupied land where Palestinians seek a state.

Previous attempts to resolve the decades-old conflict had sought to ward off deadlock and the risk of knock-on violence by tackling easier disputes first and deferring the most emotional ones like the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

This time “all of the issues that are at the core of a permanent accord will be negotiated simultaneously”, Silvan Shalom, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu’s cabinet and rightist Likud party, told Israel’s Army Radio.

The Palestinians, with international backing, want their future state to have borders approximating the boundaries of the West Bank, adjacent East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip before Israel captured them in the 1967 Middle East war.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the U.S. letter of invitation to the Washington talks had not specified which disputes were to be discussed.

But Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio the talks “will begin, in principle, on the issues of borders and security”.

Netanyahu had resisted Abbas’s calls to accept the 1967 border formula before talks resumed. Shalom said that the Israeli position would help keep the talks, which are slated to last nine months, comprehensive.

CONCESSIONS

“Had the matter of borders and territory been given over, what incentive would they (Palestinians) have had to make concessions on the matter of refugees or Jerusalem?” Shalom asked.

Israel deems all of Jerusalem its capital - a status rejected internationally - and wants to keep West Bank settlement blocs under any peace accord. It quit Gaza in 2005 and that enclave is now ruled by Hamas Islamists hostile to the Jewish state and opposed to Abbas’s peace strategy.

Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war at Israel’s founding, along with millions of their descendants, claim the right to return to their original homes in what is now Israel. The Israelis rule that out as demographic suicide, saying the refugees should resettle in a future Palestine or elsewhere.

Netanyahu says any peace accord must safeguard Israel, which has often clashed with Hamas in Gaza and fears the Islamist movement could gain ground in the West Bank. Kerry has also described Israel’s security as “paramount”.

Abed Rabbo said Israel and the United States had been conferring about security without including the Palestinians.

“This is a big shortcoming in the Israeli and the American behaviour because they are not discussing their bilateral security, they are discussing a central and a fundamental issue of ours and it concerns our future as a whole,” he said.

After months of intensive and discreet mediation, Kerry announced on July 19 in Amman, Jordan, that the parties had laid the groundwork to resume negotiations on the so-called “final status” issues that must be resolved to end the dispute.

“The meetings in Washington will mark the beginning of these talks,” Kerry spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “They will serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural work plan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months.”

In what it dubbed a goodwill gesture required to restart diplomacy, the Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved the release of 104 long-serving Palestinian security prisoners in stages. Thousands more Palestinians remain in Israeli jails.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.