Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank should form the border with a future Palestinian state, Israeli negotiators have reportedly offered Palestinian counterparts as a part of dragging peace negotiations.
Negotiators in the renewed peace talks have also discussed a shared area in Jerusalem accessible to Israelis and Palestinians, according to Israeli news reports.
The leaks come on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival in Israel amid the three-month-old talks that have seen little progress despite 15 clandestine meetings between sides.
“I come here without any illusions about the difficulties, but I come here determined to work,” Kerry said upon arrival before talks on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We believe this is something that is possible and that it’s good for all and can be achieved,” he said, according to Reuters.
Israel Radio and Yedioth Ahronoth reported Netanyahu’s team in the talks proposed the separation border, originally built ten years ago as a supposed shield against suicide bombers, as a permanent fix.
Yet Palestinians have demanded in negotiations that borders should be based on those that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel took over the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. They call the barrier an “apartheid wall” and claim the true purpose of its construction was to annex Palestinian land.
Israel officials would not confirm the leaked reports.
The shared-Jerusalem proposal allegedly caused a stir among Israeli negotiators, Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, over the size of the area, which Livni wanted to be much larger. Palestinians have long supported the shared space, officials say. see more