Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left a two-day meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris last week fuming over Kerry’s proposals for a framework accord between Israel and the Palestinians, according to a Palestinian report.
The top American diplomat reportedly offered for Abbas to form a Palestinian capital in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, not all of East Jerusalem, as the Palestinians have demanded.
Kerry also suggested that Israel keep 10 settlement blocs as part of any territorial exchange, according to Al Quds, the most widely read Palestinian daily, on Wednesday.
The Jordan Valley would not be part of a future Palestinian state, Palestinian sources told the paper, nor would there be an international force stationed there. And Kerry reportedly demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
The report, which received no official confirmation, said Abbas exploded with rage over the US secretary’s proposals, and described them as “insanity.” The PA president threatened to “overturn tables” and to go back on the flexibility he had shown in order to facilitate US-led peace efforts, according to Al Quds.
The paper suggested that Abbas’s subsequent invitation to meet US President Barack Obama at the White House was a form of damage control on the part of the Americans. A date has yet to be set for the visit. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet with Obama on Monday.
The explosive nature of the meeting reported in the Palestinian daily appeared far removed from the image projected by Abbas to the media in Paris, where he described American efforts as “extremely serious.”
“So far the Americans have not been able to put these ideas into a framework, even if the efforts are extremely serious,” he said Friday. Kerry called the meeting “constructive.”
But a Palestinian official who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity said that the US secretary’s proposals could not serve as the basis for a framework deal, as “they do not take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”
Israel and the Palestinians are nearing the end of a nine-month round of talks, brokered by the US.
Kerry acknowledged Wednesday that talks between the parties would stretch beyond the current April deadline. He told reporters that he was hoping to first secure a framework agreement.
“Then we get into the final negotiations. I don’t think anybody would worry if there’s another nine months, or whatever it’s going to be… But that’s not defined yet,” he said at the State Department.