Source: Abbas gets U.S. plan for new Mideast talks
(CNN) — America’s top diplomat is trying to revive dormant peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, a source told CNN Thursday.
Secretary of State John Kerry presented Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a formula designed to entice him to the negotiating table, a source familiar with Kerry’s talks said.
He also presented the ideas to an Arab League committee. This would serve the purpose of giving Abbas cover and encouraging him to accept.
Kerry traveled to the Jordanian capital of Amman this week and provided an update on Middle East peace to Jordanian and Arab League officials. He met with Abbas twice during his Jordanian trip.
An Israeli official quoted by Reuters news service said Israel agreed to a plan for peace talks based on pre-1967 borders and agreed-upon land swaps. The story also quotes the official as saying that Kerry would announce the initiative if the Palestinians were to accept it. And he would describe a future Palestinian state as one that would co-exist next to a Jewish state of Israel
Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denies the story’s content and questions who would have made the assertions. When asked if John Kerry was expected in Jerusalem tomorrow, Regev said “all eyes are on what the Palestinians decide later today.” Abbas met with top Palestinians in Ramallah in the West Bank to discuss a resumption of peace talks and to update them on his talks with Kerry.
One Palestinian leader, Abdel Raheem Mlawah, speaking before the meeting, said his group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, will vote against negotiations.
“There is no horizon with the Israelis. In my own opinion, there is nothing going on,” he said.
Bassam Salhi of the Palestine People’s Party, said “we want a complete change in the framework of negotiations, according to the U.N. decision in recognizing a Palestinian state.” The General Assembly last year voted to grant Palestine non-member observer state status.
Israel took over east Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights after it fought Arab states in the Six Day War in 1967.
Since then, Israel forged a peace treaty with Egypt and returned Sinai to the country. It annexed east Jerusalem, united the historic city and made it the capital of the Jewish state. It unilaterally departed from Gaza, now run by the Palestinian group Hamas.
Israel currently occupies the Palestinian territory of the West Bank and part of Syria’s Golan Heights.
For years, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have made attempts to negotiate but have repeatedly failed to get the process moving.
Among the major issues are:
— The status of Jerusalem. Israel regards the entire city as its capital. The Palestinians regard east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
— Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The land is known as Judea and Samaria in Jewish history, and Israelis say they believe that territory is part of the Jewish state. The Palestinians say the West Bank is Palestinian land. They also say they’ve been mistreated in their own land for years by Israel’s government, military and the settlers themselves.
— Security. Israel has said it wants to be assured of the safety of its citizens from attacks by Palestinian militants in any peace agreement.
— The status of the Palestinians, who departed Israel during the war that led to the state’s founding in 1948 and after the 1967 conflict. Palestinians say some left on their own but others were forced out.