JERUSALEM — Following a flurry of media reports in Israel and the Palestinian territories Thursday, analysts in Ramallah and in Jerusalem predicted that US Secretary of State John Kerry, currently in the region, would announce the resumption of peace talks Friday morning.
Neither of the principal parties will confirm.
The Israeli government denies that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acquiesced to a principal Palestinian demand, that negotiations start on the basis of the 1967 borders. In the Middle East war of 1967, Israel captured the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights.
The Palestinian Authority is holding meetings in the West Bank city of Ramallah and that are expected to go into the night. Palestinian officials will decide Friday whether or not to accept Kerry's offer of renewed peace talks with the Israelis.
Among the demands Kerry is fielding for fresh negotiations between the two sides:
1. A halt to the construction of Israeli settlements on land beyond the 1967 borders
2. Negotiated borders based on the 1967 boundaries
3. Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine
4. The release of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, including those convicted of acts of terror
5. The recognition of a right of return for all Palestinians living in the diaspora
6. A series of smaller, specific issues, such as permission to build an airport in the Ramallah district and the right to issue visas as part of a tourism initiative
1. Sovereignty over Jerusalem, including the Old City
2. Negotiated borders based on the 1967 boundaries, with land swaps taking into account the major West Bank settlement blocs
3. Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state
4. A demilitarized State of Palestine
5. Right of return for Palestinian refugees only to Palestine, not to Israel
6. An assortment of other smaller issues, such as no unilateral moves vis-á-vis international organizations