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August 2, 2013 11:31 am

Report: Israel Will Continue to Build Settlements – Negotiation Source

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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A neighbourhood in Ariel, Israel.

Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators engaged in the current round of peace talks have come to the understanding that Israel will continue to build in settlements, but “very slowly” anywhere east of the barrier, Israel’s Walla News reported, citing two unnamed sources involved in the peace talks.

One source said American mediators are making a point to keep any mention of the continued construction from any formal announcements to avoid political pressure for either side, and are insisting that any statements from Israel be kept “very low profile” so as not to embarrass Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

This week, peace talks resumed after a three-year hiatus on Monday evening and Tuesday in Washington. Middle East analysts praised the work that went into securing the first meeting, the result of a marathon six months of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry, but were skeptical as to what could ultimately be achieved.

A major hurdle will be to negotiate an agreement on borders. The Walla News source said the starting point for the discussions would be based on formulating “changes, adjustments and exchanges of territory in relation to the 1967 lines.”

The source said the American mediators “were and remain” committed to the Green Line as a basis for talks, based on a speech delivered by US President Barack Obama, in May 2011. “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states,” Obama said at the time.

The source said what was discussed this week in Washington were “mostly technical issues and even ceremonial points; there was no discussion on core issues.” However, the source added, at the next round of talks – slated to open on August 14 in Jerusalem – the parties will begin to “talk business.”

A second source cited in the article said that most rounds of talks will be held in the Middle East – Jerusalem, Ramallah, or Amman, if necessary – and that the U.S. point-man for the talks, Ambassador Martin Indyk, will stay permanently in Israel.

As for Israel’s offer to release 104 Palestinian convicts as a sign of good faith, Walla News reported that Palestinian sources expect the first group of prisoners to be freed before Indyk arrives in Israel, soon after Eid al-Fitr, a celebration to mark the end of Ramadan, beginning on the evening of August 7.

Looking further ahead, the sources said the Israeli side was pleased to hear that if the negotiations were to last nine months, as Kerry predicted on Tuesday, the likelihood that the Palestinian Authority will take unilateral steps against Israel at the United Nations and the International Court in The Hague would be very low through May 2014.

They were also content to learn from US officials speaking on background to reporters that the stated purpose of the negotiations was to lead to the establishment of two states “that will both have international mutual recognition,” suggesting that the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world will be forced to “recognize” Israel as a Jewish state, the key demand made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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  • Otto Waldmann in Sydney

    As all should keep Daphna Yee’s succint and accurate synopsis in mind, one must add that the notion of an American unwanted “interference” is a red herring so obsolete one can only think only of the Cubans planting it. Go figure. American tail in the tale or not, the complexities which need resolving are strictly between the palestinians and the palestinians themselves. Israel’s neighbouring Arabs ( of late Iran as well ) have created the longstanding ME problem. They, the palestinians are those who claim the right to have a state – doesn’t matter any longer on what farcical historicity – . Palestinians must demonstrate that they have what it takes to be accepted as a civilised statal form. So far all they have offerd has been a short and miserable history of terror, savage rhetoric, a spirit based on an epidemic of criminality INSIDE their own ilk and, so painfully obvious, outside. Our tested world cannot accept an entity entitled to have a legitimate military and all associated pernicious institutions capable, as so often proven, only to create crisis after crisis not just in the immediate region but all over.
    They have been terrorising the entire world for decades now, culminating now with the farcical demand that they are entitled to function as a legitimate entity.
    These are the real problems, not a few buildings put up on Jewish land by its legitimate citizens, those who have owned it for thousands of years. Palestinian farcical claims must be seen for what they really are.
    After these probably nine months Israel shall come out more confident, even stronger, as we are , indeed, guided by One Adon Olam for Adonai li vlo ira !!!
    As about the palestinians, they should thank Israel if and when they will have a state of their own, one in which a Jew shall be as welcome as some 20% of Israel’s population of the same lot as Abbass’s legislature,who live and prosper in Israel !!!

  • Paul Palnik

    Build, Build, Build.
    Create, Become, Grow.

  • anthony C Abela

    Without any malice to the American people, I wonder when they are going to stop interfering in world politics. They always do what suits them without any compunction or the consequences of the end results. Sometimes I wonder if they play games with Israel solely on their freight that the Jewish community in the USA is what makes things tick there, and without them USA would have been a third rate country , at best second rate. Obama’s committal is not for Israel’s benefit but the Arabs’. Let’s not forget that Obama is a hypocrite and when he looks you in the eye and agrees with you, is his worst because he means the opposite. The USA, once a protestant country settled by the Quakers who sought freedom in a new land to escape religious persecution in Europe by the Roman Catholic Church were they killed more then Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and others all put together, commonly referred to as “The dark ages”. Now they are selling their soul to the devil. Read the book of Revelation where the USA is represented as The Beast who gives power to Babylon the harlot. Pity they use the first amendment of their constitution when it suits them but not for other liberties. Poor sods.

  • Plain Talk

    What an incredibly counter-productive policy to continue to build in the disputed territories. It is the most destructive PR possible and for what? To pander to the religious right for votes.
    The other day Israel agreed to release 104 murderers which is a complete insult to every soldier and a re-opening of wounds for those who have lost loved ones to terrorism.
    In both cases, Israeli position should have been the opposite. Israel pays dearly for continuing to build in those territories.

    • Dafna Yee

      The “disputed territories” have never been a real issue; they have always been a red herring for Westerners to swallow while they ignore the facts that the PALESTINIANS DO NOT NOW AND NEVER HAVE WANTED PEACE! The truth is that Judea and Samaria were NEVER Palestinian land! When Jordan captured that land which had been part of the Palestine Mandate that had been promised to the Jews in 1948, tens of thousands of JEWS were forced to leave their homes. That was a real ethnic cleansing!! When Jordan took control, Judea/Samaria and part of Jerusalem were renamed the “West Bank” to deliberately attempt to erase the lands’ connection to the Jews. (Go check any map from before 1948 and see for yourself that there is no “West Bank” anywhere!) However, not once during the 19 years that Jordan occupied Jewish land, was there even a hint or a whisper about using that land for a homeland for the Palestinians. The only reason that the Arabs want that land is so they can kick all the Jews out of it! (The Palestinians said exactly that just a few days ago!) And the PLO has had a two-pronged plan all along: to use the Palestinians as terrorists (one of the reasons the Palestinians, particularly Abbas, honor their murderers the way they do) and to use “negotiation” to break up Israel piece by piece. Those were the plans to eradicate Israel laid out by Abbas’ mentor, Arafat when he was named leader of the PLO at the Rabat Summit Conference in 1974. Abbas, just like Arafat never changed from a terrorist to a “moderate” and has spent all his time intensifying the hatred of the Palestinians toward the Israelis, constantly reiterating — in Arabic anyway — that there will be one state that is totally free of Jews from “the river to the sea.”

      Just take a few minutes and read the PA/PLO charter and you will see that the ONLY goal that they have is the destruction of Israel! Jerusalem is not even mentioned in the charter (or the Koran, for that matter) let alone has any emotional connection for the Arabs except the burning drive to take it away from the Israelis while killing as many of them as possible. Everything else that you have heard is nothing but lying, deliberate propaganda!

      And, for the record, you have a lot of nerve to tell Jews that they should abandon their homes, businesses, farms etc. on the worthless words of Israel’s sworn enemies!!! I strongly suggest that you learn something of the true history of the land you believe you have the right to make decisions about.

    • Yale

      Sorry, Plain Talk, but the settlements are the one element in the conflict that can push the Arabs toward wanting a solution. Anyone who has followed the conflict knows the Arabs are interested in only one thing: not their people, not the education and health of their children, but land, and the settlements give Israel a basis for claiming land to which the Arabs think they are entitled.

      The curious reality is that the world’s obsession with the settlements has actually prolonged the conflict because the focus on them convinces the Arabs they won’t lose anything, at least anything they value, by refusing to make peace.

      If the UN were actually interested in resolving the conflict, it would announce that it won’t address the settlement issue again until after the Arabs agree to serious talks with Israel, the exact opposite of what they’ve been doing. I’m not holding my breath.

  • z

    Why not call Israeli homes and towns in Judea and Samaria what they are — Israeli homes and towns Judea and Samaria. Why use the term “settlements”? Do you call Arab homes and towns “settlements”?

    Use of Jihadistani propaganda terminology such as “settlements” needs to be understood for what it — a cognitive Jihadistani propaganda war on Jews and Israelis — and must be rejected.

  • Norton Mezvinsky

    If the Palestinian negotiators agree to Israel’s building new settlements for Jews in the West Bank area, they will be unable to convince a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and elsewhere to accept this concession. As it is anyway, a two state solution to the conflict is for a variety of reasons a dead letter.

    Norton Mezvinsky

  • Bernard Ross

    All problems stem from the americans. The americans must have a perpetual dog and pony show in order to showcase the latest batch of mediocre politicians who lead them. There is no need for any movement now and the irrelevant hysteria is an american concoction. The best thing for the ME is if the americans stop meddling.

    • Florence Elion Mascott

      I heartily agree with you!!

  • R

    The Arabs are finally concluding that the State of Israel IS-REAL and now all they have to do is get used to that FACT, difficult though it may be to accept. It sure as hell took them a long time to figure THAT out! Now they can start on things like Jews don’t have horns on their heads, don’t drink children’s blood, and another 1000 myths they’ve gladly believed all these centuries. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, GUYS! WE HOPE YIZ LIKE IT HERE.