The closely guarded secret of Secretary of State John Kerry’s ‘framework’ proposal to give the Israel-Palestinian talks new life has come partially to light, with Palestinian sources revealing the basic “mutual recognition” proposal.
Under the deal, the Palestinians would agree to recognize Israel’s status as a “Jewish” state, and in return the Israeli government would agree that the 1967 borders would be the starting point for a Palestinian state.
While a fairly basic start, the framework is unlikely to be endorsed by either side. The Palestinians will be reluctant to make the recognition concession simply for what they see as an obvious agreement to the starting points of the future border, while Israel’s government includes a lot of high profile hawks who have repeatedly ruled out the 1967 borders and are in the process of trying to annex more and more of the West Bank.
Kerry is heading to Israel on New Year’s Day, and while State Department officials are playing up the visit as a major move toward “final status negotiations,” the smart money is on this once again being a false start, with Kerry expecting a deal that isn’t going to come, and departing with the same unreasonable sense of optimism that has characterized the entire peace process in 2013.