US Secretary of State John Kerry is about to present a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) that will call for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria based on the 1949 lines, with "unprecedented" security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley, writes Thomas Friedman in the New York Times – one of the journalists considered most close to the Obama administration.
The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Arab side for this with Israeli territory. The deal will call for “Palestine” to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into pre-1967 Israel, Friedman says.
Kerry has been “fanatically relentless” but also “highly sophisticated” in his attempts to bridge the gaps between Israel and the PA, he adds. “After letting the two sides fruitlessly butt heads for six months, he’s now planning to present a U.S. framework that will lay out what Washington considers the core concessions Israelis and Palestinians need to make for a fair, lasting deal.”
Kerry “expects and hopes” that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and PA chief Mahmoud Abbas will declare that despite their reservations about one or another element in the U.S. framework, they will use it as the basis of further negotiations.
U.S. and Israeli officials in close contact with Netanyahu “describe him as torn,” adds the pundit, “clearly understanding that some kind of two-state solution is necessary for Israel’s integrity as a Jewish democratic state, with the healthy ties to Europe and the West that are vital for Israel’s economy,” but remaining “deeply skeptical about Palestinian intentions.”