A Palestinian official said Monday the Palestinians have reservations about some of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ideas for the outlines of a peace deal with Israel, particularly on the future of Jerusalem.
The official said Kerry suggested that a framework refer to Palestinian “aspirations” to have a capital in Jerusalem. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of Kerry’s demand for discretion.
The Palestinians want a specific mention of East Jerusalem as their capital, fearing that otherwise they’ll end up with a small part of the city.
Kerry left Monday after meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, during which he said both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “have already made important… and courageous decisions, difficult decisions” in the negotiations, but did not detail what those presumed concessions entailed.
Kerry has been presenting regional leaders with a US proposal for a peace framework and is expected back in the region next week.
The statement by the Palestinian official came a day after Kerry returned from meetings with Jordanian and Saudi rulers, stating that he had received their backing for the US framework plan.
“I am grateful that the Arab League as a whole and Saudi Arabia individually will be significantly involved in helping build support for this effort,” Kerry said at the Riyadh airport on Sunday prior to his departure. “Today his majesty was not just encouraging, but supported our efforts in the hopes that we can be successful in the days ahead.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz also expressed his doubts regarding the peace talks on Monday, following a presentation on Sunday on Palestinian incitement to the cabinet.
“We are full partners, although we have doubts about Abbas’s intentions,” Steinitz told Walla News. “I’ll shatter the illusion: Abbas does not encourage terrorism this moment, but he is one of the main inciters. The messages on the Palestinian television unequivocally call for Israel’s destruction — messages of hate with very clear anti-Semitic overtones.”
As of yet, no confirmed concrete details of the framework agreement proposed by the US have come to light.
Any agreed framework would not be a signed document, but would address all core issues, including the borders between Israel and a future Palestine, security, Palestinian refugees, and conflicting claims to Jerusalem, an official told Haaretz over the weekend. The official also said if the parties agreed on a framework for negotiating a final peace deal, it might not be made public to avoid exposing the leaders to political pressures at home.