Israeli and U.S. officials said on Wednesday that Kerry began discussing a “framework agreement” for a peace treaty with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the head of the Palestinian negotiation team, Saeb Erekat, in Washington on Monday. …
[Kerry] said the solutions to each core issue are known from pervious negotiation rounds. He cited the outline presented by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in December 2000 and the Annapolis talks in 2007-2008 as a basis for these solutions.
“It is essential, in my judgment, to reach for a full agreement and to have a framework within which we can try to work for that. … A basic framework will have to address all the core issues – borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem, mutual recognition, and an end of claims. And it will have to establish agreed guidelines for subsequent negotiations that will fill out the details in a full-on peace treaty,” Kerry said.
This represents a departure from the philosophy of the Oslo agreement that informed previous American attempts to broker a solution, in which the the “core issues” were left for the end. The original idea was to build trust with small steps, so that ultimately it would be easier for both sides to make the ‘hard choices’ that would be required.
This failed for several reasons. One was that the PLO was incapable or unwilling to repress the extremist elements in Hamas, Fatah and other factions, so that continuing terrorism made it impossible to build trust on the Israeli side.
In turn, Israel’s actions to protect its population — the security barrier, etc. — were considered to be aggression by the Arabs. The PLO leadership also claims that construction in eastern Jerusalem and within existing settlements in Judea and Samaria is evidence that Israel isn’t serious about reaching an agreement, but I believe that this is only a pretext and their real opposition rests on the issues listed below.
Kerry claims that the basic principles of a solution have been known since the Clinton parameters of 2000. This is nonsense — in fact the issues that prevent a solution have been known for years, by both sides. They are:
1. A truly (or even partly) sovereign Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is inconsistent with Israel’s security. Israel will never offer a degree of sovereignty that will be acceptable to the PLO.
2. Any Jewish sovereignty between the Jordan and Mediterranean is inconsistent with the PLO’s reason for being. The PLO will never recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and will never stop trying to end the Jewish state.
3. The PLO is unstable, corrupt, and incapable of protecting itself against radical elements (Hamas, Salafists, etc.) and therefore could not deliver peace in return for concessions, even if it wanted to.
No degree of prodding by the US can overcome these facts.