The chief foreign envoy of the pro-settlement Yesha Council was not impressed with American promises that 75-80 percent of settlers would remain in what would become Israeli sovereign territory through land swaps under a future peace deal.
“Martin Indyk’s vision for the Jews of Judea and Samaria is extremely misleading,” said Dani Dayan in a statement released Friday. “When Indyk speaks of 80% of our communities remaining under Israeli rule, he is including Eastern Jerusalem. Which would mean the forceful uprooting and eviction of up to 150,000 Israelis from their homes, which is morally repugnant and unacceptable to all.”
Indyk, the State Department’s lead envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told Jewish leaders on Thursday that, under an American framework agreement soon to be presented to Israel and the Palestinians, 75-80 percent of settlers would remain under Israeli rule. He added that it was his impression that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not averse to allowing those of the remaining settlers who choose to do so, to stay as citizens of the Palestinian state.
Indyk said the framework would be presented to the sides within weeks, and that there will be “no surprises” for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, according to four people who were on the off-the-record call with Indyk Thursday.
This was because Indyk and Secretary of State John Kerry consulted closely with the leaders of both governments as Indyk’s team drafted the agreement, he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas would be expected to accept the agreement, with reservations, as the basis of continued negotiations, Indyk apparently said.
Making it a US-drafted framework permitted the leaders to distance themselves from politically sensitive issues, Indyk said. “There may be things we need to say because they can’t say them yet,” he stated, according to the notes of one participant.
Broadly, Indyk said, the agreement will address the following: mutual recognition; security, land swaps and borders; Jerusalem; refugees; and the end of conflict and all claims.
A request for comment from the State Department was not returned.
On some sensitive issues — particularly the status of Jerusalem — the framework would be vague, but Indyk went into detail on other issues that participants said was surprising.
Among these was the security arrangements for the border between Jordan and the West Bank: Indyk said a new security zone would be created, with new fences, sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Indyk also said that the framework would address compensation for Jews from Arab lands, as well as compensation for Palestinian refugees — another long-standing demand by some pro-Israel groups, but one that has yet to be included in any formal document.
He said that the framework would describe “Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the nation state of the Palestinian people,” a nod to a key demand by the Netanyahu government that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.
Indyk continued that the framework would address the issue of incitement and Palestinian education for peace.
He confirmed that Kerry had already warned lawmakers who deal with foreign funding that the framework would require major US funding, particularly for the new Jordanian-West Bank border arrangements, the redeployment of the Israeli army, and the compensation for refugees on both sides.
Indyk was relaxed and jovial throughout the call, participants said, at one point chiding callers for not asking about Palestinian incitement, considering it always comes up when he talks to Jewish communities and in his meetings with Israeli officials.
A participant said Indyk still seemed rankled, however, by a report earlier this month that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon dismissed the security proposals as “not worth the paper they were written on.” Indyk said this was “deeply insulting” to US Gen. John Allen, who worked for months on the proposals.
One party to the call said that Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, told participants that the parties will ultimately agree to extend negotiations beyond the nine-month timeline, expiring in April, which was first agreed upon in late July 2013. The sides, he said, will negotiate with the expectation of reaching a final deal by the end of 2014.
The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.