Why not now, Israel?


Following the American officials’ plan, John R. Allen, former American commander in Afghanistan and a retired Marine general who serves as an adviser to Secretary of John Kerry on the Middle East peace talks, will present to the Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ideas about security arrangements on the West Bank under a possible peace agreement with the Palestinians. This presentation is to be made on Thursday, 5.

This briefing must be provided when Mr. Kerry meets with Mr. Netanyahu, according to officials. This will be the first time that General Allen discusses his ideas that were developed after multiple trips to Israel, in consultation with officials of Israel.

“Ongoing process”: this is how State Department officials describe the security briefing.

US Marine Gen. John Allen shakes hands with US President Barack Obama at an event in the East Room of the White House, April 28, 2011. (photo by REUTERS/Larry Downing)

US Marine Gen. John Allen shakes hands with US President Barack Obama at an event in the East Room of the White House, April 28, 2011. (photo by REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Some of the ideas that General Allen will present has already been shared with Mr. Netanyahu by Mr. Kerry, according to the officials that are accompanying the secretary of state.

The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said to diplomats that they needed to put more pressure on Israel to keep on going on this project of peace, as the negotiators make baby steps toward an agreement.

According to Mr. Erekat, Israel has demolished 159 Palestinian homes, killed 23 Palestinians and hasn’t given up on constructing 5,992 new apartments in West Bank settlements.

Although, Israel has insisted that its own military retain patrols there. According to him, this way is better than rely on an international force similar to those responsible for its tense borders with Lebanon and Syria.

As Erekat said to the diplomats, the Palestinians could never accede to Israel’s demand – to recognize it as the nation-state of the Jewish people. He said:  “I cannot change my narrative. The essence of peace is not to convert each other’s stories.”

After arranging the resumption of peace talks in July, Kerry said he expected to close a deal in nine months, what means that this closure should happen in 4 months. John Kerry will probably stay in Israel until Friday, and on Thursday he’ll also meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.

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