Abbas: Kerry’s Efforts Have Failed…So Far

February 21, 2014  

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that U.S. attempts to forge an agreement on a framework for peace talks with Israel had so far failed but that the efforts are “extremely serious,” AFP reported.

Speaking in Paris after talks this week with Secretary of State John Kerry, Abbas told journalists, “So far the Americans have not been able to put these ideas into a framework, even if the efforts are extremely serious.”

After meeting with Abbas, French President Francois Hollande said he had underlined the need “to reach an agreed framework for negotiations in a timely manner,” the news agency said.

Abbas met with Kerry twice in Paris this week in what a U.S. official on Thursday described as “constructive” talks.

Kerry has spent months trying to get the Israelis and the Palestinians to agree on a framework to guide talks towards a full peace treaty, but the negotiations have shown little sign of progress, with each side blaming the other.

A PA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Friday that ideas proposed by Kerry in Paris could not be accepted “as the basis for a framework accord… as they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

Few details have been made public of Kerry’s proposed framework, 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 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.

On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro declared that the PA will be obligated to recognize Israel as a Jewish state under the framework agreement, a long-standing demand by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“[The PA] recognizing Israel as Jewish state is a key sign that the conflict is ending,” Shapiro stated on Kol Yisrael radio. “The United States has always believed that Israel is a Jewish state and that it should stay that way.”

The PA has already formally refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, stating that “the Arab states will never recognize a Jewish state.”

Nevertheless, a senior PLO official was quoted as saying on Thursday that despite Abbas’s earlier refusal to recognize Israel, he was now prepared to do so.

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