Israel begins drafting interim peace plan towards two-state solution.
by New York Times:
An Israeli official said that the government was “seriously considering an initiative” that would represent a “phased approach to reaching a final peace accord.” The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal because it was not finalized, added that “Israel would have preferred a negotiated agreement on final status issues, and that remains the case today. But when the Palestinians consistently refuse to negotiate, that becomes impossible.”
With the Middle East in turmoil and the West eager to encourage moderate forces in the region, Israel is under pressure to show some movement on the Palestinian issue.
Several Israeli policy makers have put forward ideas. Shaul Mofaz, a former army chief and defense minister who is now a legislator in the opposition, has been pushing his plan for a provisional Palestinian state in 60 to 65 percent of the territory of the West Bank, in addition to Gaza, without initially removing any Israeli settlements.
Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has also said that he is working on a plan for an interim arrangement involving the West Bank.
Yet the Palestinians would most likely refuse an interim arrangement involving temporary borders. They have consistently rejected such proposals since a 2003 American-backed, three-phase plan for Palestinian statehood, known as the road map, never got past the first phase.
Palestinian negotiators were in Brussels on Wednesday for meetings with representatives of the so-called Quartet, the international group that deals with the Middle East peace process. The group, comprising the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, had invited both sides for separate discussions to seek a way back to negotiations ahead of a meeting of the Quartet principals scheduled later this month.
Israel declined to send its envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, to Brussels, for reasons that Israeli officials would not specify. The Israeli prime minister’s office said Wednesday that Mr. Molcho would meet with representatives of the Quartet in Israel next week.
With the unrest in Egypt, Israel’s longest-standing peace partner in the region, many in Israel have argued that this is not the time to make bold territorial concessions. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Israeli Parliament late last month that it was imperative “during these historical events that are unfolding before our very eyes that we understand reality properly. It requires caution and not hasty decisions.”
Israel would be very wise to make concessions to Palestine in order to prevent social unrest from spreading to Palestine.