The Obama administration plans to present in January its own plan for a draft framework agreement on permanent status between Israel and the Palestinians, a senior Knesset Member told Haaretz on Monday.
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Meretz chairman Zahava Gal-On said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of this during their seven-hour meeting in Rome two weeks ago. Kerry is due to arrive in Israel Tuesday night and will meet Wednesday with Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Gal-On said she was basing her information on conversations she has had in recent days with senior Palestinian, American and Arab officials.
The Obama administration plans to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough at the beginning of 2014, said Gal-On. The Americans want to move from coordinating between the two sides to a phase of active intervention. This coming January, they will present a new diplomatic plan that will include all the core issues and will be based on the 1967 lines, with agreed-on land swaps. The plan will include a gradual timetable for implementation and will also address the dimension of regional peace based on the Arab Peace Initiative. It will also include an economic plan to invest billions in the Palestinian economy.
Israel and the Palestinians resumed negotiations in late July and since then their negotiating teams have held 15 meetings. They are coming to the end of the first phase of talks, which included presenting their opening positions on the various core issues. However, there has been no breakthrough at this stage and the gaps between the parties are substantial. Moreover, Israel refuses to present clear positions regarding the borders of the future Palestinian state.
In the three months between now and January, the parties, with the help of U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, will conduct negotiations in an effort to bridge the gaps. The assessment is, however, that each side will remain entrenched in their basic positions. Therefore, during the final stage of this period, in January, the United States will apparently present a plan with its own proposals for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.