Report: Kerry Seeks Deal Within a Month
Despite ongoing disagreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over significant issues, the United States plans to keep Israel-PA talks moving rapidly forward, and even hopes for a basic deal to be hammered out within the month, Reshet Bet reports.
The report was based on a report in the London-based Arabic paper A-Sharq Al-Awsat, which spoke to senior Arab League officials at the Arab League meeting in Cairo.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called the meeting to discuss Israel-PA talks. So far, the Arab League has voted to reject a US proposal according to which Israel would withdraw from the Jordan Valley, but IDF soldiers would remain for a 10-year period. Arab leaders insist Israel withdraw completely in the short term.
Israeli leaders have expressed strong concern over Kerry’s suggestion as well, arguing that a complete withdrawal in 10 years is not in Israel’s interests and would pose a serious security risk. An Arutz Sheva analyst has described the proposal as a "death trap."
Arab League officials reported that Kerry has not been deterred by rejection of his proposals, and remains hopeful for significant agreements to be reached within the next week.
Kerry is currently in Israel to promote an agreement, and reportedly plans to "attack" Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and exert heavy pressure on Israel to accept his security plan.
Israel and the PA also continue to disagree on the status of Jerusalem and the subject of “return” to Israel for Arabs of Palestinian Arab descent. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since the reunification of the city in 1967; the PA argues that all parts of the city that were under Jordanian control from 1949 to 1967 should rightfully be under Arab control.
The demand for previously Jordanian-occupied areas includes a demand for complete control over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most holy site and the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Many Israeli leaders remain deeply concerned over the issue of the PA’s ability to represent Palestinian Arabs in making a deal. The PA does not speak for Hamas, which currently rules Gaza – home to nearly half of the Palestinian Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In addition, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ term in office expired several years ago, and the PA has yet to hold new elections.