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US: Borders, security 'essential' to any Mideast peace deal
Published Friday 09/05/2014 (updated) 14/05/2014 17:55
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US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) walks with US Special Envoy
for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk at Ben Gurion
International Airport on January 5, 2014 in Tel Aviv
(AFP/File Brendan Smialowski)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry believes drawing up the borders of a future Palestinian state and agreeing to security arrangements for Israel will be "essential" if peace talks resume, the top US negotiator has said.

In his most candid public comments since the nine-month negotiations collapsed last month, Martin Indyk described the behind-the-scenes atmosphere between Israelis and Palestinians and voiced hopes the talks would resume soon.

Speaking late Thursday at the Washington Institute think tank, Indyk said although the two sides both showed "flexibility" it was clear they "do not feel the pressing need to make the gut-wrenching compromises necessary to achieve peace."

In the end despite nine months of "serious and intensive negotiations," Indyk said it was "easier for the Palestinians to sign conventions and appeal to international bodies in their supposed pursuit of 'justice.'"

"It is easier for Israeli politicians to avoid tension in the governing coalition and for the Israeli people to maintain the current comfortable status quo," said Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel.

"It is safe to say that if we the US are the only party that has a sense of urgency, these negotiations will not succeed."

Should the peace talks resume however, Kerry believes both sides must work on the future contours of a Palestinian state and security arrangements for Israel alongside the other core issues such as refugees and Jerusalem.

Indyk pointed to "unprecedented" work by General John Allen on how to secure Israel's security, as well as a willingness by the President Mahmoud Abbas to put the security of a future Palestinian state in US hands to overcome Israeli distrust.

"Once a border is agreed each party would be free to build in its own state," Indyk argued, highlighting the tensions caused during the past months by announcements of Israeli plans for more than 12,800 new settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The top US negotiator, who spent hours locked in rooms pouring over documents, voiced concern that the settlement movement could one day "drive Israel into an irreversible bi-national reality."

"Rampant settlement activity -– especially in the midst of negotiations -– doesn't just undermine Palestinian trust in the purpose of the negotiations; it can undermine Israel's Jewish future," Indyk warned.

"If this continues, it could mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state –- and that would be a tragedy of historic proportions."

But he insisted that despite moments of frustration and humiliation felt on either side, he had also witnessed "moments of genuine camaraderie and engagement in the negotiating room to find a settlement to these vexing challenges."

Recalling how the talks which led to the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty broke down for five months, he voiced hope negotiations would resume soon.

"When they are ready, they will certainly find in Secretary Kerry and President (Barack) Obama willing partners in the effort to try again –- if they are prepared to do so in a serious way," he added.
1 ) Mel / USA
09/05/2014 23:50
The saddest part about the whole thing is that USG,nor Israel,or even EU/UK,have cared one iota about PALESTINIAN borders,or Palestinian's "security"for the last 67yrs! And when they harp on about US being the "only party"concerned about"urgency",what about "the party" of millions of Palestinian people urgently concerned about being persecuted,expelled,locked up&tormented by extremist-Zionist Israel &its military &Shin Bet thugs?It's been an"urgent"matter since Ben Gurion!Such D.C. BS!

2 ) Tobias / USA
10/05/2014 01:38
Security concerns, and also greed from both sides, makes agreement on -1- ANY BORDERS virtually impossible, so -2- "ANY Mideast PEACE deal is essentially" impossible too, and -3- World leaders should end such foolish quests of the IMPOSSIBLE.

3 ) Betz55 / USA
10/05/2014 06:47
If anyone needs 'security' it is the Palestinians from the illegal settler squat terrorists.

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/05/2014 07:10
'Borders, security 'essential' to any Mideast peace deal' Happily, the 1947 Partition Declaration set forth borders, and it guaranteed the security of Palestinians within those borders. What's more, Israel agreed to those conditions. So really, all we need to do is to get Israel to honor its word, and we're home free.

5 ) Ude / Sweden
10/05/2014 08:01
What a charade and song and dance. Stop wasting the world's time.

6 ) Mel / USA
10/05/2014 17:06
#5:Ude/Sweden:"...charade...song...dance". Agreed!But even that sounds too pleasant,entertaining &harmless.As long as 7 decades of physical,emotional,psychological suffering &blood-shed inflicted by colonial Zionism on pluralistic Palestine by racist-supremist rabbi's &apartheid politicians continues,the only"song and dance"is one of suffering &death on Palestinians who never deserved to be treated as human garbage by Zionism,akin to Nazism's "song and dance"hasbara,as good people were gassed!

7 ) @ Betz-3 / USA too
10/05/2014 19:42
Either you have never been to the Land, or YOU just ENJOY LYING. If you should ever visit the Land, and actually believe "Palestinians need security", then consider, why No Palestinians villages ever built security fences to keep "squat terrorists" out, just like essentially Jewish village did to keep Arab knives, guns, and bombs out??

8 ) @ Colin-4 / USA too
10/05/2014 19:52
Surely you realize, that if their situations were reversed, Arab Muslims would Not return to "the 1947 Partition Declaration borders", even with peaceful Jewish neighbors, and Jews have no such peaceful neighbors, where decades of Arab Muslim invasions and terrorism have justified Israel's changed view on "agreed to conditions" in both 1947 and 1967.

9 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 02:53
To @ #8: 'Surely you realize, that if their situations were reversed, Arab Muslims would Not return to "the 1947 Partition Declaration borders"' Okay -- make the offer. I'll bet they would -- and I'll bet they'll let Israel specify any security guarantees it likes, to boot. But go ahead -- make the offer. After all, you're sure they won't accept. Can't hurt.

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 02:55
To @# 7: 'No Palestinians villages ever built security fences to keep "squat terrorists" out, just like essentially Jewish village did to keep Arab knives, guns, and bombs out??' This helps to explain why they were so frequently massacred, doesn't it? The Zionists would have been really screwed if there had been five hundred armed, fortified Palestinian villages.

11 ) ian / australia
11/05/2014 23:20
Israel is a greedy and amoral entity and it likes to keep things nebulous and murky. That's why the big issue is the "Jewish State" and Palestinian recognition of it which is as nebulous as it gets. Borders, however, are concrete which is why Israel won't discuss them (not until the "big" issue is resolved!) So any pressure to define borders, from Kerry or Indyk or anywhere else, is fine with me and is obvious common sense. The '67 border seems reasonable. I mean isn't 78% of someone else's

12 ) ian / australia
11/05/2014 23:30
(contd.) home enough? The apparent answer is: not if you can get more of it (see extraordinary story about an agreement reached by Peres and Abbas which Netanyahu shelved because he thought Tony Blair could get a "better" deal, like haggling over a used car.) Earlier "borders" are unrealistic because they involve territory in which the Arab character has been completely eradicated. They're just not "Palestinian" anymore, like Manhattan isn't Lenape, and the Israelis living there

13 ) ian / australia
11/05/2014 23:36
(contd.) have rights as occupants of a legitimate state. So, the best battle (and I mean LEGAL battle, not farcical "talks", with wide global support and a chance of success) is for the territory beyond the Green Line which is self-evidently Palestinian like Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Battir, al-Walaja, Bil'in and the Haram ash-Sharif. Insha'Allah.
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