Ambassador Shapiro: Kerry heard things from Netanyahu , Abbas 'no one ever heard before'

US envoy says fresh revelations could emerge in final analysis of any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

January 7, 2014 21:52
3 minute read.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro.

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.. (photo credit: Courtesy of US embassy Israel)


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Secretary of State John Kerry, in hours of meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has heard things from each of them that “perhaps no one else has heard,” US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said on Tuesday.

Shapiro, in an Israel Radio interview, said the focus of the US diplomatic efforts now was on bridging the gaps between the sides on all core issues and “maybe, in the final analysis, the two sides will agree to something new, something they have not agreed upon until now.”

He would not elaborate.

The document Kerry was working on, Shapiro explained, will serve as a framework for continued negotiations toward a permanent agreement and will be presented “in another few weeks, maybe another month.” This framework, he added, “will form a basis for both sides to continue negotiations.”

Kerry, who left the region Monday after a five-day trip, will return soon, Shapiro said.

The US envoy said that the framework for the negotiations will show both Israelis and Palestinians what the basis of a permanent agreement will look like.

“It has to answer a number of central questions that are at the center of the conflict,” he said.

Responding to reports that Israeli government officials were accusing Kerry of using the threats of European sanctions or a boycott as a way to pressure Netanyahu, Shapiro said that the US has not only made clear that it opposes boycotts and sanctions against Israel, but also fights against them on a daily basis in various international forums.

Having said that, he added that he believed one of the reasons Netanyahu entered into the negotiations over the summer was because “he understood the international situation, and that this situation would be more difficult without negotiations than with them.”

In a television interview in Israel on November 7, Kerry said, “I believe that if we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place in an international basis.”

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who met with Kerry alongside Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni a couple of times over the weekend, said the emphasis now was not on reaching a framework agreement but on agreeing on a framework to enable a continuation of the talks beyond the nine-month deadline that expires in late April.

“It is clear there are big gaps – they are not new – but our interest is definitely to continue the negotiations and continue to work toward stabilizing the situation and our relations with the Palestinians,” he said during a tour of the IDF Central Command headquarters in northern Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met in London with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and afterward the two of them issued a joint statement saying they “agreed that the current negotiations provide a unique opportunity to end the conflict once and for all.”

Liberman has not used this type of language in the past.

The statement said the two men also discussed the “unprecedented package of security, political and economic support that the European Union will provide to the parties in the event of a final-status agreement.”

According to the statement, the two had an “open and productive” discussion on a wide range of regional and bilateral issues.

Regarding Iran, Liberman and Hague “reiterated our common goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, and the importance of continuing our coordination on this matter. We agreed that the sanctions regime should remain robust until Iran agrees to a comprehensive and final settlement addressing all international concerns about its nuclear program.”

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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