Netanyahu in Sharm el-Sheikh
Netanyahu in Sharm el-SheikhGPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will fly to Washington DC Sunday, in a surprising development reported by Channel 1 national television Tuesday evening. The station's political reporter Ayala Hasson said the trip is "90% certain" to take place and that it seems to reflect some kind of political development, but that the nature of the development is not known.

Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas met in Sharm el-Sheikh Tuesday and discussed “core issues” of a possible solution to the decades-long conflict over the Land of Israel. The term "core issues" usually refers to Israeli concessions, including  the status of Jerusalem and the holy sites within it, as well as final borders and the Arab demand that descendants of Arab residents who fled decades ago be allowed into Israel. Before the meeting, Netanyahu had insisted that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and addressing security issues were the primary issues for Israel.

The talks were hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell also took an active part in the talks that reportedly got off to a "rocky start" in the morning.

Netanyahu, Clinton and Abbas / GPO

The day began with separate bilateral meetings that Mubarak held with Netanyahu, Abbas and Clinton. Clinton then also held bilateral meetings with Abbas and Netanyahu separately.

This was followed by a 100 minute meeting attended by Netanyahu, Abbas, Clinton and Mitchell.

According to Mitchell, the drafting of a framework agreement for a “permanent status” solution is now “well under way.” The parties agree, however, that negotiations must be kept strictly confidential.