Obama Administration to Present Framework for Middle East Peace

Martin Indyk Tells Jewish Leaders There Will Be 'No Surprises'

Getty Images

By JTA

Published January 30, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Obama administration will soon present a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that the sides may accept with reservations as a basis for a final deal by year’s end, the top U.S. negotiator told Jewish leaders.

Martin Indyk, the State Department’s lead envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told Jewish leaders on Thursday that the framework agreement would be presented to the sides within weeks, and that there will be “no surprises” for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, according to four people who were on the off the record call.

This was because Indyk and Secretary of State John Kerry consulted closely with the leaders of both governments as Indyk’s team drafted the agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would be expected to accept the agreement, with reservations, as the basis of continued negotiations, Indyk apparently said.

Making it a U.S.-drafted framework permitted the leaders to distance themselves from politically sensitive issues, Indyk said. “There may be things we need to say because they can’t say them yet,” he said, according to the notes of one participant. Broadly, Indyk said, the agreement will address: mutual recognition; security, land swaps and borders; Jerusalem; refugees; and the end of conflict and all claims.

A request for comment from the State Department was not returned.

On some sensitive issues — particularly the status of Jerusalem — the framework would be vague, but Indyk went into detail on other issues that participants said was surprising.

Among these was the security arrangement for the border between Jordan and the West Bank: Indyk said a new security zone would be created, with new fences, sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Indyk also said that the framework would address compensation for Jews from Arab lands as well as compensation for Palestinian refugees — another longstanding demand by some pro-Israel groups but one that has yet to be included in any formal document.

He said that the framework would describe “Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the nation state of the Palestinian people,” a nod to a key demand by the Netanyahu government that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.

Indyk said that about 75-80 percent of settlers would remain in Israel through and swaps; he added that it was his impression that Abbas was not averse to allowing settlers who want to remain as citizens of the Palestinian state.

He said the framework would address the issue of incitement and Palestinian education for peace.

Indyk confirmed that Kerry had already warned lawmakers who deal with foreign funding that the framework would require major U.S. funding, particularly for the new Jordanian-West Bank border arrangements, the redeployment of the Israeli army, and the compensation for refugees on both sides.

Indyk appeared relaxed and jovial throughout the call, participants said, at one point chiding callers for not asking about Palestinian incitement, considering it always comes up when he talks to Jewish communities and in his meetings with Israeli officials.

A participant said Indyk still seemed rankled, however, by a report earlier this month that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon dismissed the security proposals as “not worth the paper they were written on.” Indyk sais this was “deeply insulting” to U.S. Gen. John Allen, who worked for months on the proposals.


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!
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • 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.