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Kerry Considers Direct Appeal to Israelis

US Secretary of State reportedly weighing direct appeal in attempt to whip up support for his proposals.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/30/2014, 8:47 AM

John Kerry in Tel Aviv
John Kerry in Tel Aviv
Flash 90

United States Secretary of State John Kerry may be planning a direct appeal to the Israeli public, journalist Ben Caspit reports, writing for The Post.

Kerry’s staff is reportedly weighing the possibility of a “State of the Nation” style address, in an attempt to whip up Israeli support for Kerry’s proposals.

The goal reportedly would not be to circumvent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but rather to assist him by creating a more positive public perception of the proposed deal. Netanyahu’s staff are reportedly involved in weighing the plan.

Kerry’s previous attempts to encourage Israeli support of his plans have included dire warnings of “chaos” and a “third Intifada” if Israel-PA talks fail. He made an attempt in late 2013 to urge Israeli concessions; among those who rejected his speech were ministers in Netanyahu’s coalition.

The deal Kerry is currently seeking support for is a list of Terms of References, which, if accepted by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, would create a framework for continuing negotiations. The document reportedly rejects the PA demand for a "right of return," but supports the PA position calling for the city of Jerusalem to be split, with the PA gaining control over eastern neighborhoods of what is now Israel's capital.

The US has created similar “framework” proposals in the past, notably the 2003 “Roadmap for Peace.”

According to Voice of Israel public radio, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Wednesday that the Terms of References agreement was based primarily on ideas raised by Israeli and PA leaders, and that American proposals make up just a small part of the document.

Previous ideas raised by Kerry have met with skepticism among both Israeli and Arab leaders. The Arab League firmly rejected a proposal that would have seen Israel withdraw from the Jordan Valley but maintain a temporary military presence in the region; several senior Israeli figures openly opposed the suggestion as well.

His latest suggestions already face strong opposition. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said Wednesday that Kerry’s proposal was “dangerous and detached from reality.”

“John Kerry must understand: it’s not going to happen,” Danon declared. “Israel will not split Jerusalem nor will it withdraw to the pre-1967 lines.”