Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday that he expects US Secretary of State John Kerry to lay down clear parameters for a peace deal between Israel in the Palestinians in his planned speech on Wednesday, and that it will be based on last week’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 that condemned Israeli settlements.
“We are talking about a resolution that is fair to all sides and which Kerry will be required to work in accordance with,” Erekat told The Times of Israel.
On Tuesday an Egyptian paper published what it said were transcripts of a meeting between Kerry and Erekat, in which the Americans reportedly told the Palestinians they would work with them on the resolution.
Erekat also condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct since the vote, saying that Netanyahu “is in a diplomatic black hole and instead of trying to find his way out, he keeps making every possible mistake to dig himself deeper.”
Netanyahu has announced a series of punitive measures against countries that supported the vote, bitterly criticized the US for failing to veto it, and accused the US of coordinating and driving the “shameful” resolution through in an “ambush” of Israel. The US has denied any pre-vote hand in the resolution.
Erekat did not address what practical impact Kerry’s speech could have on the current situation, although another Palestinian official told The Times of Israel that expectations for the speech are very low. “There are no illusions at the Palestinian Authority that this speech can meaningfully influence on the situation on the ground, or have a positive influence on the policies of the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump.”
The Palestinian source also said that the chance that the parameters Kerry will outline in his speech will be used as a basis for a further UN Security Council resolution, calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state, is very low.
But the source did say that there is a possibility that the concluding declaration from the Paris peace conference in January will be the basis of a proposal for a Security Council resolution.
On the Palestinian side there is a great deal of criticism of the current US administration, which the source said tried to tread too carefully and did not determine clear parameters for a peace deal.
The source also slammed the fact that it was Kerry who was picked to set out the American position on the issue and not President Barack Obama himself.
The official said the Palestinians believe that the establishment of clear parameters for the peace process by the current administration will lead to a sharp response from Trump and his advisers and a rejection of the proposed framework.
In order for Kerry’s speech to have a real effect, the source maintained, Kerry would need to show that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians during his tenure as secretary of state have led to progress in arriving at a peace deal. Kerry also needs to clearly lay out what steps are required to arrive at an agreement on the basis of two states for two peoples, and to prevent the elimination of the two-state solution as the preferred outcome, rather than a single bi-national state.
In light of all these difficulties, the Palestinian side believes that these latest developments pushed by Kerry and the Obama administration are “too little, too late,” the official said.