Sunday, June 5, 2011

New French Peace plan: "Two States for Two People" based on Obama's parameters

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe offered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a proposal on Thursday aimed at breaking the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock before the expected showdown at the UN General Assembly in September.

In a first for the wider international community, the French initiative incorporates the position that the goal of negotiations is "two states for two peoples," not just "a two-state solution."

The French proposal would revive the talks based on the following principles.

1).The border issue would be discussed based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, in keeping with U.S. President Barack Obama's speech.

2).Security arrangements for both sides - Israel and the Palestinian state - would be negotiated.

3).The negotiations would begin with a discussion on borders and security arrangements, while talks on the refugees and Jerusalem would be put off to a later date.

4).The negotiations goal is "two states for two peoples," not just "a two-state solution," as the international community and Palestinians have put it. This approach is significantly closer to Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as "the nation state of the Jewish people."

5).Contrary to the international community's former position, the proposal does not stipulate that Jerusalem would be the capital of both states, but only that the Jerusalem issue would be solved via negotiations.

Juppe said that if both sides responded favorably, France would be willing to convene a peace conference in Paris next month to resume the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Both Netanyahu and Abbas said they would reply to the proposal within a few days. A senior Israeli official confirmed that Netanyahu had received the document and was examining it.

Netanyahu told Juppe that Israel is demanding that negotiations be based on an Israeli military presence on the Jordan River, the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state and acknowledgment that Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel.

Netanyahu also said the talks would not be resumed with a unity Fatah-Hamas government that did not recognize Israel and renounce terror.