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Netanyahu denies reports of Israel agreeing to peace talks along ’67 borders

Al-Akhbar | July 18, 2013

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied Thursday previous reports stating that Israel had agreed to a proposed formula for new peace talks with the Palestinians under which the border of their future state would be along lines that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.

An Israeli official had previously said on Thursday that Israel was open to talks based on the 1967 borders, but with agreed land swaps and Palestine recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state.”

The denial comes as a blow to US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been working for the past six months to restart peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

Kerry had urged Israel on Wednesday afternoon to carefully consider a 2002 peace initiative approved by the Arab League.

“Israel needs to look hard at this initiative, which promises Israel peace with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations – a total of 57 nations that are standing and waiting for the possibility of making peace with Israel,” he had said.

The plan, put forward by Saudi Arabia at an Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002, offered full recognition of Israel but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees. Softening the plan three months ago, a top Qatari official raised the possibility of land swaps in setting future Israeli-Palestinian borders.

Speculation had been rife that Kerry, now in the region for his sixth time since March in an effort to revive peace talks that deadlocked in 2010, may be close to a breakthrough.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was conferring with Palestinian leaders on Thursday to decide whether to accept Kerry’s proposals for renewing talks with Israel.

Kerry said on Wednesday after talks with Abbas in neighboring Jordan that gaps between the sides had “very significantly” narrowed. An Arab League committee endorsed Kerry’s proposals for resuming peace talks, saying they “provide the ground and a suitable environment to start negotiations.”

However, the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are considered illegal under international law, is still to be resolved. Palestinians are refusing to return to negotiations without a freeze on settlement activity, as Israel has greenlighted the construction of hundreds of settlement homes in the past several months.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

July 18, 2013 - Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Why in 2013 with NSA spying, etc. is the US going back and forth with Israel on a peace plan for the Middle East. Must the US use technology mainly for nefarious activities? Why isn’t there a timeline on Israel’s behavior from its inception versus the Palestinians behavior that is widely circulated among the nations of the world in order to obtain leverage against Israel’s intransigence. Must it always be the military option — Israel’s way — or can we get some moral suasion here. Israel has never been or demonstrated by its actions that it is an honest broker for peace in the Middle East. Instead, it creates phantoms that it then attempts to slay and proffers its engagement with the phantoms as an excuse for its inability to establish peace in the region while usurping Palestinian land and murdering the Palestinians.

    Like

    Comment by Ribeekah Grant | July 18, 2013 | Reply


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