Livni and Kerry in Rome May 8, 2013370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to fly to Washington Sunday evening to
address the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum on Monday and is expected
to meet Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss his efforts to re-start
Livni, who is in charge of the
negotiating team with the Palestinians, has met Kerry some four times over the
past two weeks. The meeting follows Kerry’s visit to the region last week, and
his continued push to restart talks.
Kerry is scheduled to address the
three-day AJC parley on Monday and discuss his ongoing efforts to get the sides
back to the table.
He phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas twice over the weekend and once again discussed ideas that could lead to
the resumption of the peace process, a PA official in Ramallah said.
official said that Abbas was facing “huge pressure” from Kerry to abandon his
preconditions for the resumption of the peace talks.
over the weekend that the US administration was putting pressure on him to
return to the negotiating table with Israel unconditionally.
Israeli government officials, Kerry speaks to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
about “every two to three days.”
PLO officials who were briefed by Abbas
said that Kerry has failed to secure an Israeli pledge to stop building in
settlements and accept the pre-1967 lines as the future border between Israel
and a Palestinian state. These have been among Palestinian preconditions to
“The pressure should be on the Israeli side and not on
President Abbas,” the official said. “If Kerry can’t convince Israel to change
its policies and practices, that’s his problem and not ours.”
official said Israel wanted Kerry to succeed, and added that Jerusalem “hoped
the Palestinians will not pull out at the last minute.”
“We are ready for
talks,” he said. “Our team is ready.”
In a related development, Chief PLO
Negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed that Israel was trying to get rid of Abbas
because of his “adherence” to the rights of the Palestinians.
Dubai TV that “all of Israel is saying that he [Abbas] is not a peace
They are talking about the need to get rid of
Erekat warned that Abbas could meet the same fate of his
predecessor, Yasser Arafat, for refusing to make concessions to Israel. He added
that because of his positions, Arafat was “besieged, and died for his
On Kerry’s current efforts to revive the peace talks with
Israel, Erekat warned that the Palestinians would embark on a new strategy
should the mission fail.
“The Palestinians want Kerry to commit Israel to
accept the twostate solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, halt settlement
construction and release prisoners,” Erekat said.
The new Palestinian
strategy, he pointed out, would include resumption of efforts to join 63
international agencies and conventions.
Erekat accused Israel of
conducting negotiations “outside the negotiating table by creating facts on the
ground and imposing dictates, building settlements, assassinations, closures and
PLO officials quoted Abbas as saying that Israel has
refused to discuss the issue of Jerusalem with the PA, according to a report,
Saturday, in Al-Ayyam, the PA’s official newspaper.
During a meeting with
Arab residents of Jerusalem in his office over the weekend, Abbas said that
“without Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinian state there would be no
He added: “East Jerusalem is the essence of the
State of Palestine. It is in the hearts of all Palestinians and Arabs and
Muslims. We won’t leave this land despite all the pressure and
PLO Executive Committee member Hanna Amireh said that Kerry
has brought nothing new.
“He is only talking about development in the
context of an unrealistic economic plan,” Amireh said. He added that Kerry only
wants to talk about security and borders.
Another PLO official, Wasel Abu
Yusef, said the US secretary of state has failed to convince Israel to stop
settlement construction and accept the two-state solution on the basis of the