Israel Asks United States to Extend Timeline for Peace Talks
Israel has asked the United States to extend the current deadline for reaching a framework peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority by another year, the Israel Hayom daily reported Tuesday. Although the two sides’ negotiating teams have met over 20 times, Israel has come to believe that a slew of unresolved differences and major disagreements remain unaddressed and that only an extension of the April 2014 deadline can salvage the peace talks, the paper said.
While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is eager for a framework agreement to be signed, Israel believes that sticking to the previously agreed upon nine-month negotiating period will doom the talks to failure. As a gesture of good will, Israel has offered to sign a document stating that the two sides agree to extend the negotiations for another year so as to find a solution to the conflict.
During Kerry’s most recent visit to the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked him to refrain from going public with any specifics about the agreement, with Israel’s premier fearing that such a statement would be interpreted as indisputable fact and hence pose a major obstacle to further negotiations.
Meanwhile, Israeli government officials say that the Palestinian Authority refuses to sign a framework agreement which would force it to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. According to Netanyahu, recognition by the PA of a Jewish State must be included in any framework agreement, Israel Hayom said.