The United States intends to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) by the end of 2014, American Jewish leaders who were briefed by envoy Martin Indyk said on Thursday.
The leaders who spoke to Channel 10 News said that Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework agreement, which was originally scheduled to be presented at the end of January, will be presented within weeks.
According to these Jewish leaders, who were not named, Kerry’s agreement mentions a Palestinian state with borders based on the 1949 Armistice lines and with land swaps between Israel and the PA. 75 to 80 percent of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria would remain in their homes even after a permanent agreement.
The agreement will include a reference to the PA’s incitement against Israel and will also include a reference to compensation for Jewish refugees who came from Arab countries, the leaders told Channel 10 News. The Arabs would recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Israel would recognize the Palestinian state, and the two sides will announce the end of the conflict, they said.
The Jewish officials further noted that even after the agreement is presented, the sides will not be forced to agree to it and the parties will be allowed to present their reservations, though they would be required to continue the negotiations based on the principles that appear in the document.
As for the status of Jerusalem, the participants in Indyk’s briefing told Channel 10, Kerry's framework agreement will not go into too much detail on this issue and will only mention "general principles and aspirations.”
Much has been said in recent weeks of the framework agreement that Kerry is planning to bring forward, but nothing official has been made public yet.
On Wednesday, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times published some details of Kerry’s plan which, he said, 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.
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 said.
The plan was blasted by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, who declared that “it is not going to happen.”
“Israel will not split Jerusalem nor will it withdraw to the pre-1967 lines,” Danon said, adding, “The only thing good about this plan is that the Palestinians will recognize Israel as a Jewish state. It’s about time.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear last week that whatever Kerry brings forward would not be an agreement but " a suggestion for a framework for negotiations.”
“This is not an agreement, but a path to making progress,” Netanyahu told reporters in Davos.
He also clarified that he will not evict any Israeli communities as part of a peace agreement. A senior source within the Prime Minister's Office later told Arutz Sheva that when Netanyahu stated that "I do not intend to evacuate any settlements or uproot a single Israeli," he meant "not just settlements and Israelis in the Jordan Valley, but any settlements and any Israelis."