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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been under tremendous pressure to find allies in the Middle East and North Africa given the region’s instability. Talk of peace negotiations with Syria, however, has already divided Israeli opinion. Now Mr. Netanyahu is considering an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians, which includes the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders. Haaretz reports:
(S)ources said that at the same time that Netanyahu would be pursuing an interim peace deal, Israel and the PA would negotiate the principles of a future final-status agreement and the Palestinians would receive guarantees regarding the permanent borders of a Palestinian state.
“We don’t want to evade a final-status agreement, but an interim agreement is the way to get there,” a PMO official said.
The details of the plan Netanyahu is considering are not yet clear. It remains to be seen whether Netanyahu is genuinely interested in moving forward with the peace process or is floating a trial balloon with the expectation that the Palestinians will reject the proposal, bolstering the “no partner” claim.
The PMO proposal appears to be based on plans by the head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and defence Committee, former defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has proposed a long-term interim arrangement under which a Palestinian state would be established with temporary borders on 45 per cent to 50 per cent of the West Bank.
The Quartet on the Middle East, a consortium comprised of the UN, US, Russia and the EU established in 2002 to deal with conflict in the Middle East, met in Brussels today to discuss peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Israel skipped the meeting because the Palestinians refused direct talks. The Quartet will travel to Jerusalem next week to meet with Israel’s chief negotiater Yitzhak Molcho in hopes of making headway.
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