I don’t see how borders and security can be discussed without getting into all the issues. But what can be discussed is what settlements go, what settlements stay and which will remain undetermined. Ted Belman
- [Kerry said it was] “crucial to first tackle the issues of security and borders. The reason, he said, was that once this issue was resolved, the settlements would no longer be a point of contention because it would be agreed where Israel could, and could not, build.”
Despite the loud and angry protestations from the PA over the past three days regarding announcements on the eve of the talks concerning plans to build housing units in east Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs, Kerry said the move took neither the US nor Abbas by surprise.
Kerry said Netanyahu had been “completely upfront with me and with President Abbas that he would be announcing some additional building that would take place in places that will not affect the peace map, that will not have any impact on the capacity to have a peace agreement.”
What this meant, Kerry explained, was that the building would take place in the “so-called blocs in areas that many people make a presumption – obviously not some Palestinians or others – will be part of Israel in the future. [Netanyahu] has specifically agreed not to disturb what might be the potential for peace going forward.”
Kerry said the US viewed all settlements as “illegitimate” and that it would be better were these construction announcements not made.
But, he added, “there are realities within life in Israel that also have to be taken into account here going forward.”
Abbas, Kerry stated, “understood that coming into these talks.”