US Secretary of State John Kerry and Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas meet in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 19, 2013 / photo: PressTV
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday with good wishes for the Muslim holiday of Id al- Adha. Earlier, during a speech delivered at a Knesset ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Middle East War, Netanyahu mentioned briefly that Israel was working hard to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. Netanyahu, however, bemoaned the PA leader’s “absence” as a peace partner. As examples of successful partnerships, he cited former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, as well as former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former Jordanian King Hussein.
“I am not under the illusion that this will be easy. I am determined to do my best to succeed. But this is not just dependent on the Israeli side, just as it was not only up to the five prime ministers who preceded me since the start of the Oslo process…. The other side is also needed,” he said.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been meeting regularly since the end of July as part of a nine-month negotiation process toward a final-status agreement. Israeli sources complain that negotiations have not produced results thus far as the sides reiterate their positions with no attempt to bridge gaps. However, both sides fear to be blamed for an abrupt end of negotiations. Tel Aviv also fears that an American position paper will be submitted toward the end of this nine-month period with parameters that will be difficult for Israel to accept.
In this context, NRG, an Israeli online news magazine, reports that Tel Aviv is considering proposing to the Palestinian that Israel annexes certain areas of the West Bank while other West Bank areas will be delivered to the Palestinians.
According to NRG, while this is still only a general idea, Israeli sources are toying with the idea of annexing the Bethlehem-area settlement bloc of Gush Etzion while “giving” the northern West Bank area of Nablus to the Palestinians, as being realistic.
(Source / 16.10.2013)