John Kerry in Tel Aviv, June 2013
John Kerry in Tel Aviv, June 2013Flash 90

US officials estimate that Israel will lose about 15 percent of “major settlement blocs” in Judea and Samaria in any final status deal worked out with the Palestinian Authority.

Sources in Washington reported that Secretary of State John Kerry said in discussions with members of the House of Representatives described as “mostly pro-Israel” that Israel’s interested are being safeguarded, according to an article published in the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

It appeared that all core issues were raised during the initial meetings in Washington between Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators, including the question of when to raise the issue of the status of Jerusalem.

“We had a good start,” Kerry told lawmakers.

One of the U.S. representatives told a journalist that Kerry said he believes approximately 85 percent of Israel’s largest “settlement blocs” will remain under the state’s sovereignty.

Kerry’s reply to the question of whether the PA will be willing to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state was noncommittal, however: “That’s one of my goals,” he said. “A homeland for the Jewish people.”

Israel was already recognized in 1948 by the United Nations as a “homeland for the Jewish people,” so that point is not at all new. Moreover, the specific language marks a difference between a “homeland for the Jewish people” as opposed to “a Jewish state.” One does not hold the same meaning as the other - though the Arabs accept neither.