June 11, 2017
A first principle would be that of peace between the two parties that puts an end to the conflict. Another element would be the right of each side to determine its future and character, in the context of peaceful coexistence. A third principle would be stringent security and anti-terror arrangements, especially regarding Israel’s security and Palestinian demilitarization. The guidelines will also include a role for Jordan and the Arab League in security monitoring after a permanent agreement, backed by the United States; settlement building restraint by Israel during the negotiations; and normalization of relations by the Arab states with Israel in parallel to the negotiations. Finally, the guideline will determine that the negotiations need to deal with all permanent status issues, including Jerusalem and refugees.
Jason Greenblatt, the US presidential envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, has become quite an expert on the intricacies of inter-Arab relations. He has also become much familiar with the most minute details on the agenda of permanent status issues. For instance, he knows the demographic composition of each East Jerusalem neighborhood; he knows which settlement belongs to which settlement bloc for possible land swap; and he knows what kind of intelligence technology the United States could put at the disposal of Israel after an Israel Defense Forces withdrawal from territories in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
A senior PLO official who participated in the talks with the US envoy told Al-Monitor that the Palestinian negotiation team led by the secretary-general of the PLO, Saeb Erekat, is very impressed with Greenblatt’s know-how, open mindset and apparent neutrality. According to the official, Greenblatt is assisted by diplomatic personnel from the US Consulate in Jerusalem and its embassy in Tel Aviv. The source noted that Greenblatt is very target oriented and is working diligently for the launch of a regionally backed Israeli-Palestinian peace process in September 2017.
The Palestinian leadership was very pleased with President Donald Trump’s decision not to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and especially for the reason given: the need to aspire to a peace process. The PLO source said that President Mahmoud Abbas took credit for it and thanked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan and King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia for their support. The source emphasized that after the Riyadh summit (during Trump’s May 20 visit), coordination between the leaderships of the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia has strengthened; the four leaders aim to insert the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative into the American’s terms of reference for the opening conference of the negotiations. The deep rift between the United States and the European Unit on the Paris Climate Accords generated greater Palestinian focus on their dialogue with Washington.
The PLO official added that according to current Palestinian assessment, the administration staff will upgrade its activity through the next months in order …read more