Briefing on the Resumption of Israel-Palestinian Peace Negotiations
Negotiations Will Be Difficult, Issues Are Contentious
Posted: September 3, 2010
There is no expectation that these negotiations will be easy or free of crisis. The issues to be negotiated- borders; security arrangements; refugees; Jerusalem – are contentious and will require difficult compromises by all parties.
As the two terrorist attacks in recent days against Israeli civilians make clear, Hamas's continued extremism and terrorism, its dedications to the eradication of the State of Israel, make any negotiation and arrangements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority more complicated.
On this first round of talks, the parties laid down their priorities. Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the Palestinians must recognize the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. As he said at the U.S. State Department on September 2:
"Just as you expect us to be ready to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, we expect you to be prepared to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. There are more than a million non-Jews living in Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who have full civil rights. There is no contradiction between a nation-state that guarantees the national rights of the majority and guaranteeing the civil rights, the full civil equality, of the minority. I think this mutual recognition between us is indispensible to clarifying to our two people – our two peoples that the conflict between us is over."
The Prime Minister also stressed the imperative of ensuring Israel's security – particularly the threats posed by Iran's regional proxies in Gaza and Lebanon, and potentially in the West Bank – in any negotiated agreement:
"And so a peace agreement must take into account a security arrangement against these real threats that have been directed against my country, threats that have been realized with 12,000 rockets that have been fired on our territory, and terrorist attacks that go unabated."
President Abbas focused on Israeli settlements and a withdrawal to 1967 borders, saying at the State Department:
"And we call on the Israeli Government to move forward with its commitment to end all settlement activities and completely lift the embargo over the Gaza Strip and end all form of incitement."
Israelis will also be playing close attention to how the Palestinian Authority deals with terrorism, as well as any manifestation of anti-Israeli incitement. Many have been dismayed by continued incitement on PA television, and in official statements by PA leaders.