Israel-Palestine peace talks to resume as Palestinians agree to “minor” territorial concessions, according to a counter-proposal to a contentious US plan.
Israel-Palestine talks: Palestine ready to negotiate
A Palestinian Authority text sent to the international peacemaking Quartet, seen on Monday, says the Palestinians are “ready to resume direct bilateral negotiations where they stopped,” in 2014. Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on June 9 that the PA had drafted a response to the US proposal but did not previously mention direct talks with the Israelis.
Israel’s coalition government has set July 1 as the date from which it could initiate action on US President Donald Trump’s Middle East controversial peace proposals.
The Trump plan paves the way for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jewish settlements considered illegal under international law. The PA said the counter-proposal would be withdrawn if Israel went ahead with annexation “of any part of the Palestinian territory”.
Ramallah tells peacemaking Quartet it agrees to ‘minor border changes,’ international peace-keeping force, but will withdraw offer if Israeli West Bank annexation proceeds
— Natylie Baldwin (@natyliesb) June 30, 2020
“No one has as much interest as the Palestinians in reaching a peace agreement and no one has as much to lose as the Palestinians in the absence of peace,” said the four-page letter to the Quartet of the United Nations, United States, Russia, and the European Union.
“We are ready to have our state with a limited number of weapons and a powerful police force to uphold law and order,” it said, adding that it would accept an international force such as NATO, mandated by the UN, to monitor compliance with any eventual peace treaty.
Isreal eager to reach a compromise
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Monday he is willing to negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast “peace plan.”
The remark was made overnight in a pre-recorded address to a conference organized by “Christians United for Israel,” a U.S.-based pro-Israeli evangelical group. Speaking two days before his set date for annexing part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Netanyahu urged the Palestinians to “embrace” Trump’s plan.
“I encourage the Palestinians not to lose another opportunity,” said Netanyahu. “They should be prepared to negotiate a historic compromise that could bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians alike. Israel is prepared for such negotiations, and I am prepared for such negotiations,” he added. Netanyahu has set July 1 as the date for his plan to annex the Jordan Valley, which makes up some 30 percent of the West Bank, a territory seized by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians and the international community have condemned the plan as a violation of international law and a threat to regional stability.
Palestine-Israel talks: A complex solution
The text sent to the quartet also proposes “minor border changes that will have been mutually agreed, based on the borders of June 4, 1967”, when Israeli forces occupied the West Bank. Announced at the end of January in Washington, the Trump plan also envisions the annexation by Israel of the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.
As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades.
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) June 28, 2020
More than 450,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements deemed illegal under international law, alongside 2.8 million Palestinians.
Washington’s proposals provide for the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory and without the Palestinians’ core demand of a capital in east Jerusalem. The plan had previously been rejected in its entirety by the Palestinians.
The European Union opposes it and is demanding that Israel abandon its annexation ambitions.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk
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