U.S. Suggests There Will Be a 'Framework Agreement' in Peace Talks

Middle Phase Deal May Not Address Every Issue

Getty Images

By Ron Kampeas

Published December 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Amid simmering tensions over Iran policy, the Obama and Netanyahu governments appear to have quietly forged common ground in recent weeks on Israeli-Palestinian talks, with the United States accepting that a possible “framework” agreement might not address every outstanding issue in the negotiations.

Such an agreement, the United States and Israel seem to agree, would maintain a role for Israel in providing for its security, presumably by maintaining some form of military presence in the West Bank.

What’s not clear is if the Palestinians will go along.

As recently as October, Martin Indyk, the lead American peace negotiator, told J Street that an interim agreement was not in the cards. The objective, he told the liberal Israel policy group, was a final-status agreement.

Yet over the weekend, addressing the annual Saban Forum in Washington, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry each suggested there would be a middle phase aimed at addressing Israel’s lingering security concerns.

“I think it is possible over the next several months to arrive at a framework that does not address every single detail but gets us to a point where everybody recognizes better to move forward than move backwards,” Obama told the annual forum on Saturday.

“We have spent a lot of time working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his entire team to understand from an Israeli perspective what is required for the security of Israel in such a scenario,” he said.

Netanyahu’s comments to the forum, delivered the next day via satellite, reiterated Israel’s longstanding position that under any agreement, it must retain the ability to provide for its own security.

“I think that any kind of peace we’ll have is likely, initially at least, to be a cold peace,” Netanyahu said. “So there must be ironclad security arrangements to protect the peace, arrangements that allow Israel to defend itself by itself against any possible threat. And those arrangements must be based on Israel’s own forces.”

For years, the question of Israel’s long-term security presence in the West Bank has dogged attempts by Israel and the Palestinians to return to peace talks. Israel has long maintained that it must retain a security corridor in the Jordan Valley. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that keeping Israeli forces in place would fatally undermine a deal.

The Obama administration appears to have sided with Israel on this point by accepting that at least initially, Israel will have a role in securing borders and fighting terrorism in Palestinian areas, among other security responsibilities.


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!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • 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.