Secretary of State John Kerry’s draft framework agreement for a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict calls for establishing a Palestinian capital in east Yerushalayim, according to a leak to the media on Wednesday.
Much of the material will be familiar to anyone who has been following the issues: a phased Israeli withdrawal from Yehudah and Shomron except for unspecified Jewish population blocs; special security arrangements in the Jordan Valley; Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people; no provision for a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.
These are all issues which, according to media reports, continue to divide the negotiators, and it was still not clear how Kerry proposes to reconcile them.
Nevertheless, according to Thomas Friedman, the senior New York Times columnist who ran the story, Kerry “expects and hopes” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will agree to the framework agreement as the “basis of further negotiations,” even if they disagree about some of the contents.
But, Friedman adds, if Netanyahu and/or Abbas fail to agree to the draft, “Kerry would have to take his mission to its logical, fanatical conclusion and declare the end of the negotiated two-state solution.”
“So that’s where we are,” Friedman writes. “Israelis and Palestinians need to understand that Kerry’s mission is the last train to a negotiated two-state solution. The next train is the one coming at them.”