An Egyptian newspaper has published what it says are transcripts of meetings between senior members of the Obama administration and top officials of the Palestinian Authority, in which the parties planned out the introduction of last week’s anti-Israel United Nations Security Council resolution.
According to the transcript, which was first published in Al-Youm Al-Sabea, Secretary of State John Kerry told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat at a meeting earlier this month that the United States would work on the resolution with the Palestinians at the Security Council. Kerry also allegedly promised to put forward his ideas for a final-status peace framework, which he is expected to unveil in a speech on Wednesday, if the Palestinians promised to support his UN proposal. He also advised the Palestinians to present the plan to the Saudis. U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Majed Faraj, the director of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service also reportedly attended the meeting.
The transcript, if accurate, would confirm the charge made by an Israeli government spokesman on Tuesday that the Jewish state had “ironclad” proof that “the Obama administration helped craft this resolution and pushed hard for its eventual passage.”
Israel is concerned that Kerry’s speech will lay out specific acceptable parameters for a peace agreement, abandoning the U.S.’s decades-old policy that Israel and the Palestinian Authority should only reach agreements on issues bilaterally. This principle was supported by both major party candidates for president and an overwhelming bipartisan congressional majority. “We have always stood against any imposition of a, quote, ‘final status solution,’ and against any resolution that is unfair and biased against Israel, and we will continue,” Kerry himself said earlier this month in remarks at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum.
Jerusalem also fears that Kerry will present a comprehensive proposal at a French-sponsored peace conference next month (which Israel has said it will boycott) and that the United States will move to formalize that plan in another Security Council resolution.
The resolution called Israel’s presence in eastern Jerusalem and other areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines illegal and primarily blamed Israel for the lack of peace. It passed 14-0 in the Security Council. The United States could have used its veto to block the resolution, as it has done in similar instances in the past, but chose instead to abstain. A Washington Post editorial that same day accused the Obama administration of reversing “decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents,” which is “more likely to impede than advance negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The editorial warned that the Obama administration’s failure to follow precedent will also “encourage Palestinians to pursue more international sanctions against Israel rather than seriously consider the concessions necessary for statehood, and it will give a boost to the international boycott and divestment movement against the Jewish state, which has become a rallying cause for anti-Zionists.”
It also pointed out that during President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, “the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas proved unwilling to negotiate seriously even during the [2009-10] settlement freeze, and it refused to accept a framework for negotiations painstakingly drawn up by Secretary of State John F. Kerry in 2014.”
Kerry and Rice, according to the Egyptian report, also told the Palestinians not to make any provocative moves, such as halting security cooperation with Israel, trying to prosecute Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court, or dissolving the PA itself, before the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20.
News of the transcripts was first reported in Israel by Channel 1, whose report can be seen below.
[Photo: President Abbas / YouTube ]