Saturday, April 10, 2010

Netanyahu says Israel will reject imposed peace plan.


by Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in private meetings in recent days that Israel would not accept a Middle East peace agreement that is forced on it from the outside, sources said yesterday.

"It won't work and it won't be acceptable if a settlement is forced on us," Netanyahu reportedly told close aides. He reportedly said Israel would have to retain a military presence along its border with Jordan and that adequate security arrangements would be an important element of any future peace deal.

Netanyahu's comments came as Washington Post columnist David Ignatius quoted two top administration officials as saying U.S. President Barack Obama was "seriously considering" proposing an American peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One of the officials told Ignatius the administration could formally launch the initiative by this fall.


The peace plan would apparently be based on previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with an emphasis on the 2000 Camp David talks.

The possibility that the Obama administration would try to impose a peace plan on Israel and the Palestinians was broached in meetings held by Netanyahu in recent weeks.

A senior Israeli source said Netanyahu believes security arrangements - especially the need to prevent missiles and rockets from reaching Palestinians in the West Bank - have never been properly dealt with in previous negotiations with the Palestinians. Because of this, the source said, the prime minister says he would not accept security arrangements that do not entail an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.

Another government source said there is an argument within the U.S. administration over the peace process. Special envoy George Mitchell is pushing for an incremental process in which the United States will try to convince Israel to

freeze construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and start negotiating borders, but senior White House aide Dennis Ross believes the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have a slim chance of succeeding and that the focus should be on building the PA's institutions from the bottom up, the source said.

At the same time, top White House officials close to Obama say an American peace plan should be similar to the one Bill Clinton presented in December 2000 after the failure of the Camp David talks. Israel had responded favorably, though with reservations, to the plan, which was rejected by PA chairman Yasser Arafat.



Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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