Report: Kerry offered Beit Hanina as Palestinian capital

Accord to Al-Quds, Abbas threatened to blow up talks over offer Israel kept 10 settlement blocs, demand for recognition of Jewish state.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described US Secretary of State John Kerry's framework agreement draft as "madness," Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported Wednesday.


According to the paper, meetings held between the two last week in Paris were very difficult and Abbas was on the verge of blowing up the peace negotiations.


According to Al-Quds, Kerry demanded Abbas to official recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and offered that Beit Hanina neighborhood will be declared as the Palestinian capital instead of the entire east Jerusalem area.


Related stories: 

This was not the first time the Americans have offered only a part of east Jerusalem for the Palestinian capital. In a previous round of talks, the Americans offered Abu Dis as an alternative - an offered that was rejected immediately.


Additionally, the secretary of state demanded that as part of land swaps, Israel will keep ten settlement blocs.


In addition, Kerry has raised the possibility that the Jordan Valley will not be a part of the Palestinian state. This is in contradiction to comments Abbas made several weeks ago to the New York Times, where he expressed willingness to allow both international and Israeli presence in the area for an interim period of several years.


The paper reported that Abbas was furious at Kerry's proposal and threatened to turn back on his recent flexible offers.


The Americans tried to assuage Abbas' fury, which had the potential to blow up the negotiations, by inviting him to meet US President Barack Obama at the White House.


A date for the meeting has yet to be set, though it will definitely take place after Obama's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the prime minister's visit to Washington for the annual AIPAC conference next month.


On Wednesday, Kerry explicitly admitted that he hopes at best to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a "framework" for a peace agreement by April 29, but that a final deal could take another nine months or more.


"For months now, we've been saying we're trying to get a framework. We have understood what we can get within this time period," Kerry told reporters.


"We are trying to get the framework ... If we have used these seven months thus far to get an understanding of where the parties are and to be able to shape the final negotiation, then we get into the final negotiation," Kerry added.


"So I don't think anybody would worry if there's another nine months, or whatever it's going to be, to finish up but that's not defined yet," he said.


Abbas had presented his core principles earlier this month during an interview with the New York Times. He confirmed that a Palestinian state might have to cede its defensive capability to NATO, and that he could accept IDF presence in the West Bank for a five-year period after the signing of an agreement. The Palestinian leader even agreed to a gradual evacuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.


However, Abbas insisted that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.


Reuters contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 02.27.14, 00:50
 new comment
This will delete your current comment