Well – here we go again…
Today US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel.
He reportedly bears with him a proposal that within two months there will be a new outline for a permanent agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
It is being said that the American administration is largely following the Plan outlined by President Bill Clinton that includes land swaps and dividing Jerusalem.
To this end diplomats are preparing to formulate guidelines on ending the so-called conflict that will provide an outlet from the stalled and ever seemingly dead-end of negotiations.
It doesn't look like either side is going to have their arms open wide for an embrace of Mr. Kerry…
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has said Israel will not accept an outside decree for peace that forces Israel to sign against it's will.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that the Palestinians can not tolerate more construction in Israeli settlements and that if nothing is done about it the whole situation is liable to lead to an explosion in the Palestinian Territories.
Another aspect that has surfaced is that there has been plenty of 'behind the scenes' negotiations with talks apparently hung up over an agreement on Jerusalem.
There allegedly has been 15 of these secret negotiations – each lasting three to four hours over the last three months. Thats a substantial amount of talking…
The Security arrangements and what areas in Jerusalem will be open to everyone has apparently taken ceter stage.
Israeli press has said that Palestinian sources have reported that there have been arguments and disagreements between Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of the negotiations on behalf of Israel and Mr. Netanyahu's special envoy Yitzhak Molcho. Mrs. Livni has described the allegations as 'coordination'; while sources in Prime Minister's bureau have continually stated that Jerusalem will remain united.
Diplomatic sources are upset and pointing the finger at the Palestinians for what they say is the 'putting on of a show'. Sources in Jerusalem are angry over the Palestinians' behavior of insinuating that there will be a third intifada as an attempt to pressure Israel prior to Secretary Kerry's visit.
But everyone knows that one of these days, there will be an American proposal for an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians that will eventually be ratified.
Even since the 1967 'reunification of Jerusalem', the US has never recognized the so-called “occupied territories,” as part of Israel proper.
But right now the last thing Israel wants is to appear to “break-off the talks”.
The reason is they do not want to upset the American administration that Israel needs right now with the situation of a potential nuclear Iran.
America senses this and perhaps some surprise diplomacy they might make the parties amenable to a proposal for an interim agreement – but no one is holding their breath.
Middle East Correspondent