Sunday, September 18, 2011

Abbas rejects Netanyahu far-reaching compromises submitted to Quarte envoy, Tony Blair

(Haaretz). The Palestinian Authority has rejected several attempts to sway it away from its statehood bid at the United Nations and toward resumed peace talks with Israel, Haaretz learned on Sunday, with sources saying that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed proposals that included compromises by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to several compromises in regard to the Quartet statement's wording, specifically on issues such as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, among others.
*Regarding the proposed borders of a future Palestinian state, Netanyahu agreed to a vaguer wording concerning the West Bank's main settlement blocs - negotiations based on the 1967 borders, with land swaps, with borders that are not identical to those of 1967 and taking into account "demographic reality on the ground."

*On the subject of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Netanyahu agreed to compromise, and allow the statement to speak of two states for two as well as of two national states, without mentioning a "Jewish state."

*Netanyahu also agreed to be more flexible on the length of future negotiations as well as on security assurances. Netanyahu is prepared to agree to one year of peace talks.
Until this point, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected all of the proposed draft statements, even those which included Netanyahu's revisions. Eventually, Quartet Mideast Envoy Tony Blair and American officials decided that a statement would be released regardless of any objections, in order to gauge the sides' responses later.