Phil Weiss, of Mondoweiss, best described today’s tête-à-tête between Bibi and Kerry…
Here’s the transcript. Netanyahu begins by talking all about Iran. The Palestinians are an afterthought, and they’re to blame. His manner is impatient: “I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to avoid, run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace…”
We seek peace with the Palestinians. We’ve spoken, John, many, many times about this, and because of your efforts, we launched several months ago an initiative to seek a peaceful agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. I want peace with the Palestinians; Israel wants peace with the Palestinians. We agreed three months ago on certain terms. We stand by those terms. We abide scrupulously by the terms of the agreement and the understanding on which we launched the negotiations.
I’m concerned about their progress because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to avoid, run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace. I hope that your visit will help steer them back to a place where we could achieve the historical peace that we seek and that our people deserve.
Kerry begins his remarks by commenting on who Netanyahu’s not, Yitzhak Rabin:
We are in the Rabin Suite here, and last night I had the privilege of visiting the site where violence took the life of a great prime minister who was moving towards peace. And I’d often heard President Clinton talk about the meaning of that loss and that moment to the loss of an opportunity for peace.
So I’m honored to be in the Rabin Suite meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel at a moment where we are in critical talks with respect to the possibilities of a long, long sought goal here in the Middle East. Israel deserves security, deserves to live in peace. The Palestinians deserve a state and deserve to live in peace, and that is what we are working towards.
He touches on Iran but says that the peace process is the big enchilada, and that Israel too has to show good faith:
We are now three months into this negotiation. There are always difficulties, always tensions. I’m very confident of our ability to work through them. That’s why I’m here. We will spend serious time this morning. I will meet with President Abbas this afternoon. Again this evening, the Prime Minister and I and his team will share a working dinner, and we’ll work as late as it takes. And again tomorrow, I will be here in the region and working on this. So I hope that we will continue in the good faith that brought the parties together in the first place that this can be achieved. With good faith, with a serious effort on both sides to make real compromises and hard decisions, this can be achieved. President Obama sees the road ahead, as do I, and we share a belief in this process or we wouldn’t put this time into it.
Greeting Kerry, as well, was this lovely little Israeli declaration…
Negotiators tell Palestinian officials they will not get a state based on 1967 borders, Israeli reports say.
Israeli negotiators have told their Palestinian counterparts that the Separation Wall that cuts through the occupied West Bank will serve as the border of a future Palestinian state, local media reports said.
Just hours before US Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival for top-level talks on ongoing direct peace negotiations on Tuesday, two press reports said the Israeli team had made the proposal.
“Israel’s opening position was that the border be the route of the separation barrier [wall], and not the 1967 lines as the Palestinians have demanded,” public radio said in a report, which also featured in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot.
Since talks resumed in late July, the Palestinians have repeatedly complained about Israel’s lack of clarity on the issue of borders.
The Palestinians insist the talks be based on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, when Israeli seized and occupied Gaza, the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected any return to the 1967 lines as “indefensible”, saying that would not take into account the “demographic changes” over the past 46 years, in a clear euphemism for Jewish settlements.
McClatchy describes it as merely… A linguistic debate on Israeli settlements.
Another reason Bibi was so tense…