US Secretary of State John Kerry can chalk up a victory as Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority) have agreed to return to the negotiating table following the secretary’s last round of meetings. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) announced on Shabbos (13 Menachem Av 5773) that the basis for his agreement to resume talks is a letter from Kerry guaranteeing that the basis of the negotiations will be Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
In the usual good-guy bad-guy political statements surrounding the talks in the past, a Western official denied the senior PA official’s statement, as does Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who last week stated there is no such commitment by Israel. http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=178175
As in the past, there is talk of Israel releasing terrorists in yet another good will act to the PA, while there is absolutely no good will from the PA negotiators. The renewal of talks will compel another halt of badly-needed construction throughout Yehuda and Shomron, as thousands of young couples are without homes due to the ongoing building freezes agree to in the past administration by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio that prisoners Israel has agreed to release include some who “have been sitting in jail for dozens of years,” seeking to minimize the fact that once again Israel will be releasing murderers and receive absolutely nothing in return. Pressure is rapidly mounting on the Bayit Yehudi party to pull out of the coalition in line with its promise to protect the yishuvim. Just last week party leader Minister Naftali Bennett emphasized that talk of returning to pre-June 1967 borders is a non-starter. http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=178354
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is officially Israel’s chief negotiator, praised Kerry’s announcement and looks forward to returning to the negotiating table.
“This is a very heavy responsibility,” Livni told Channel 2 TV. “All the issues will be on the table.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said his group rejects Kerry’s announcement, saying it does not recognize Abbas’ “legitimacy to negotiate” on their behalf.
Abu Zuhri added Hamas rules Gaza, and has been at odds with Abbas since its Gaza takeover in 2007.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)