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JERUSALEM – After attending a somber ceremony at Yad Vashem on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry began shuttling between Ramallah and Jerusalem in an effort to jumpstart the long stagnant Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Israeli media sources report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provided Kerry with a list of potential Israeli concessions, including the release of some Palestinian prisoners, the freeing of Palestinian Authority (PA) tax revenues and custom duties, and the ceding of a swath of Judea and Samaria under Israeli control (Area C) to the PA. In return, the PA must agree to restart direct negotiations with Israel.
Netanyahu reiterated his government’s policy of not freezing any settlement construction at this time as part of a resumption of negotiations. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that a complete settlement freeze must be implemented for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
During his trip Kerry will also meet with representatives of the Arab League, who are expected to insist that Israel agree to their Arab Peace Initiative that calls for a total Israeli withdrawal from areas captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. While Netanyahu has praised parts of the initiative, which includes the mandatory establishment by all Arab nations of full diplomatic relations with Israel upon the signing of a formal peace agreement, he has said that Israel will not return to the pre-1967 borders and that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital.
Abbas has reportedly asked Kerry to have Netanyahu supply maps showing Israel’s proposed final borders. Netanyahu’s Palestinian interlocutor, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, supplied Abbas with detailed final borders during her stint as then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s foreign minister. Those maps, rejected by Abbas, purportedly included the return of at least 95 percent of Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu is refusing to show Abbas any border plans until he returns to the negotiating table and a plan is worked out regarding how Hamas should be dealt with.
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday night that “whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price.”
Rivlin returning early to Israel from US trip due to situation in northern Israel.
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“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” Netanyahu said shortly after the bodies were found.
Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/kerry-in-new-mideast-peace-push/2013/04/10/
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