CMEP Bulletin: Is a Framework Agreement in the Works?
More details are emerging about what Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to accomplish between Israeli and Palestinian leaders by the end of April. This week Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters in Beit Jala that a framework agreement that provided a “detailed skeleton” for further negotiations would keep Palestinians at the negotiating table past April 29, the nine-month date of these negotiations.
According to Reuters, Secretary Kerry spent his ninth visit to the region since February pushing a framework for a deal. In his address at the annual Saban Forum, Secretary Kerry laid out what the important issues. He said, “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.”
Erekat confirmed that Secretary Kerry is aiming for a framework agreement by April 29 and that the Palestinians would stay at the table longer if one is reached. According to Reuters, “Erekat said this deal would need to contain specific details, such as the borders of any future Palestinian state, the percentage of land swaps to compensate for Jewish settlements built on occupied territory and the final status of Jerusalem, which both sides want as their capital.”
When asked about why he is optimistic a deal could be reached, he said “The difference this time is John Kerry. This man made a difference in terms of his relentless efforts and unwavering commitment. I can tell you that John Kerry is not pushing the Israeli positions.”