Thomas Friedman: Kerry's Plan Envisions Palestinian Capital in East Jerusalem

Senior NYT analyst lays out expected points of the framework deal, which he believes will include phased withdrawal from West Bank according to 1967 lines and will not allow return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's draft framework agreement for Middle East peace talks will include support for establishing a Palestinian capital in Arab areas of East Jerusalem, senior New York Times analyst Thomas Friedman wrote in his column published Wednesday.

Friedman, who is currently visiting Israel, said that Kerry's framework document would present the core concessions that Washington considers Israelis and Palestinians need to make for a fair, lasting deal.

In his column, Friedman spells out the points he believes the document will contain:

"The 'Kerry Plan,' likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank [based on the 1967 lines], with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley," writes Friedman.

"The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory," he writes. "It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper."

According to Friedman, Kerry "expects and hopes" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will agree to the framework agreement as the "basis of further negotiations" even if they disagree about one more elements in the plan. 

But, Friedman adds, if Netanyahu and/or Abbas fail to agree to the draft, "Kerry would have to take his mission to its logical, fanatical conclusion and declare the end of the negotiated two-state solution."

"So that’s where we are," Friedman writes. "Israelis and Palestinians need to understand that Kerry’s mission is the last train to a negotiated two-state solution. The next train is the one coming at them."