Kerry and Abbas to Meet in Paris, Discuss Peace
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris Wednesday to discuss peace talks with Israel, officials said Monday, according to the AFP news agency.
Kerry has spent months trying to get the two sides to agree on a framework for resolving their decades-old conflict, but the negotiations have shown little sign of progress, with each side blaming the other.
A senior PA official told AFP Abbas would leave for France on Tuesday for the meeting, which he said had been requested by Kerry who is currently in Abu Dhabi.
"The Palestinian positions are known and we have reiterated them at all the meetings with Kerry and his advisers," the official said, according to the report.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting, saying they would "discuss the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis."
Little has been made public of Kerry’s framework agreement, though Thomas Friedman of the New York Times published some alleged details of the plan, which, he said, will call for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria based on the 1949 armistice 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.
Martin Indyk, the American envoy to the peace talks, later revealed to American Jewish leaders that 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 incitement against Israel in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and will also include a reference to compensation for Jewish refugees who came from Arab countries.
On Sunday, Abbas appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on two of the most divisive issues, saying he did not want to "flood Israel" with so-called “Palestinian refugees” and that there was no need to "re-divide" Jerusalem.
The comments were made during a meeting between Abbas and more than 300 Israeli university students at his Ramallah headquarters.
At the same event, however, Abbas accused Jews in Judea and Samaria of committing "murders".
"The settlers are cutting down trees, and wreaking destruction," he said. " They are not just settling our land, they are also killing us - you must stop them!" he urged.
It was not clear what instances of "murder" Abbas was referring to, though his comments mirror regular PA incitement against Jews living in Judea and Samaria, in which "the settlers" are portrayed in crudely anti-Semitic terms, and deserving of violent treatment.
Abbas is also an expert when it comes to “double-talk”, saying one thing when he speaks English or meets Israelis, then saying something completely different on his own media outlets.
In fact, even after peace talks restarted, the PA has continued to incite against Israel in its media and in public speeches given by its officials.