Kerry Proposes Return of 80,000 Palestinian Refugees to Israel
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry proposed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the return of 80,000 Palestinian refugees to Israel, a senior official of the Palestinian government told Xinhua.
"Kerry's proposal on the return of refugees is the same proposal offered by former U.S. President Bill Clinton during Camp David peace talks held in the United States in 2000," said the official. During their meetings, Abbas wanted to increase the number of Palestinian refugees returning to Israel to 200,000, and the demand is still under discussion with Kerry.
He added that "gaps are still wide concerning the permanent status issues of the refugees, Jerusalem, borders, settlements and the Jewish state."
Netanyahu: "You Cannot Base Policy on Illusions" - Shlomo Cesana
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the peace process, saying, "The Americans presented their stances and I am trying to bring reality into the plan....In our entire region, from Morocco in the west to Pakistan in the east, there is no country that is not undergoing turbulence, other than Israel, and that teaches us that you cannot base policy on illusions. Every policy based on illusions eventually bursts [when it meets] reality."
He added that Israel is seeking to extend negotiations by a year.
Why Palestinian Recognition of a Jewish State Matters
- Avi Shilon
The Palestinians raise three objections to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
First, such recognition would be perceived as discrimination against Israel's Arab citizens. However, Israel defines itself as a Jewish state in any case and Israeli Arabs are officially not affected by this.
Second, Israel did not make this demand of Egypt or Jordan, and it is not the Palestinians' place to define Israel's identity. This is disingenuous since the conflict with both those countries was mainly territorial and political. In contrast to Egypt and Jordan, as long as the Palestinian national movement does not recognize the right of Jews over at least part of the Land of Israel, the conflict will continue to simmer even after the signing of an agreement.
Third, defining Israel as Jewish compels the Palestinians to contradict their historical narrative. This demonstrates that even in the eyes of moderate Palestinians, Jews are not perceived as a nation but as a religious community. Thus, they have no authentic claim for sovereignty over any part of the land.
Israelis who claim they have no need for Palestinian recognition of Israel's Jewish character and essence are right. What they don't understand is that [Israel] needs such recognition as proof that the Palestinians are serious about ending the conflict.
Palestinian Action an "Empty Threat" - Raphael Ahren
According to Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Palestinian threat of a unilateral statehood drive is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. "This is a big bluff; it's just an empty threat," he said.
"So the Palestinians will go to the International Health Organization, the International Postal Union and the Civil Aviation Authority. So what? That won't give them statehood. It won't make a difference, because Israel is still sitting in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and any change can only come about as the result of a negotiation process."
Palestinian attempts to influence the agendas of UN bodies actually did more damage to those organs than to Israel's interests, he posited. Many diplomats and parliamentarians have told him that the international community is becoming "increasingly fed up" with Palestinians trying to appropriate UN organizations for their political purposes and, in the process, distracting those bodies from their actual jobs.
Baker called the specter of an International Criminal Court (ICC) trial against Israel "a completely empty and utterly unrealistic threat." Even if the court's prosecutor ruled that "Palestine" could file a complaint against Israeli leaders for war crimes, an investigation would have zero chances of succeeding because the Palestinians would need to prove that the alleged offenses took place on Palestinian sovereign territory.
(Times of Israel)
No End to Palestinian Claims - Pinhas Inbari
- An internal, strategic document formulated in the office of Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in 2013 states that the aim of the current U.S.-led talks is not to reach an agreement but, rather, to create an alibi for imposing a solution on Israel. The Palestinians agreed to enter the talks only after receiving a written commitment from Kerry to support the Palestinian position on the 1967 lines.
- However, there have been repeated signs that the Palestinian leadership has claims to Israeli territory within the 1967 lines. In 1999, the PLO was planning to replace the Oslo Accords with Palestinian territorial demands based on the Partition Map that appeared in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 and thereby extend Palestinian territorial claims.
- After Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians demanded the annexation to Gaza of the Israeli border village of Netiv Ha'asara. In negotiations over the water issue, the Palestinians demand not only the water of the West Bank and Gaza, but also a division of the Israeli aquifer and the Sea of Galilee. They also claim sovereignty over the al-Hama enclave in the Golan Heights because it was part of the British Mandate for Palestine.
- In September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly that he was applying for UN membership "on the basis of the 1967 borders." But in the formal Palestinian submission to the UN, there is no reference whatsoever to the 1967 lines but only to Resolution 181 from 1947.
- Thus, there is considerable, cumulative evidence that the Palestinian leadership is maintaining claims to Israeli territory within the 1967 lines.
Pinhas Inbari, a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, currently serves as an analyst on the Palestinian issue for the Jerusalem Center.