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Direct Peace Talks Begin Again

September 3, 2010
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The resumption of talks comes one day after Netanyahu said, in comments posted on the White House Web site, that he came looking for a “historic compromise” that enables the sides to live in peace, security and dignity. On Thursday, Netanyahu again said he saw in Abbas a “partner for peace” and noted that “a true peace, a lasting peace,” can only be achieved with “mutual and painful concessions from both sides.”  

Netanyahu said both he and the people of Israel “are prepared to walk this road and to go a long way, a long way in a short time, to achieve a genuine peace that will bring our people security, prosperity, and good neighbors—good neighbors, to shape a different reality between us.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the core issues of the conflict, including borders, security, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements, would be “at the center of these negotiations.” She also expressed the conviction that if the two sides are committed to succeed and “move forward in good faith” that all of the core issues can be resolved within one year. Netanyahu noted that there are disagreements regarding those core issues, but said the sides “have to get from disagreement to agreement—a big task.”  

For his part, Netanyahu said there is a need for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. As for the Arab minority in Israel, Netanyahu said, “There is no contradiction between a nation-state that guarantees the national rights of the majority and guaranteeing the civil rights, the full civil equality, of the minority.” He also said that such recognition of Israel’s legitimacy was essential in making clear that the conflict with the Palestinians is over. Addressing security, Netanyahu said Israel’s security needs have changed over the years, pointing specifically to the introduction of extensive rocket attacks on Israel.   

Abbas, meanwhile, agreed on the importance of security, claiming they had found one of the cars used in the recent terror shooting in Israel and had arrested those that sold and purchased the car. He also reaffirmed their commitment to ending incitement, a commitment the Palestinians have so far failed to fully carry out despite Abbas’ claims to the contrary.  

Abbas called for a “fair solution of the problem of the refugees according to international resolutions” and also apparently tried to return negotiations to where they have left off before, noting “we’re not starting from scratch, because we had many rounds of negotiations.” Abbas at least implied that the general approach to a final arrangement is mostly laid out already, which may leave little room for compromise. Regarding the “international resolutions” that outline a peace deal, Abbas said, “We do not want anything above [in the final deal] and we do not want anything under.”  

Interestingly, the land swap idea— where Israel retains major settlements in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] in exchange for other territory—was not mentioned explicitly by Abbas on Wednesday, despite his reported openness to the concept. The Palestinians rejected substantial Israeli peace proposals at Camp David roughly one decade ago and again from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert roughly two years ago.
 

Posted on September 3, 2010

Source: (By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, September 2, 2010)

Photo Credit: Photo by Isranet

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