CMEP Bulletin: Peres Peace Prelude?, Civilians Killed in Latest Violence, and Goldstone Report Redux

CMEP Bulletin: Peres Peace Prelude?, Civilians Killed in Latest Violence, and Goldstone Report Redux

Peres in Washington

It has been widely reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to give a major speech soon, perhaps in Washington in May, an agreement with Palestinians, including a proposal on borders.   His government has not yet responded to the Palestinian proposals on final status issues, presented two years ago to U.S. Middle East Special Envoy George Mitchell.  With the Arab Spring uprisings, growing impatience with the status quo, and continued settlement activity, many inside and outside Israel see the need for Israel to make far reaching proposals soon.

With U.S. support of paramount importance to Israel, the meeting of President Shimon Peres and President Obama this week was generally understood as an opportunity for the Israelis to measure what would be acceptable to the United States. Many statements have suggested the Prime Minister is thinking of “interim” proposals on borders and other arrangements.  However, after 17 years of negotiations during which Israeli settlement activity continued to encroach into the Palestinian Territories, proposals now for partial or open ended measures are likely to be interpreted by Palestinians as prejudicial to creation of a viable and  contiguous Palestinian state and a pretext for delay in their self-determination.

Often Israel negotiates with the United States over the terms of its policies toward Palestinians. The meetings in Washington were private and only an exchange of ideas about what might be acceptable.  President Peres is widely admired as a man who sincerely wants a peace agreement.  The next several weeks can be expected to be a period of active behind-the-scenes negotiations between the United States and Israel to find proposals that will be as acceptable as possible to both sides.

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