Israel, Palestinians-no peace talks breakthrough

Dec. 10, 2013 at 7:24 AM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Israeli and Palestinian officials said they doubt a breakthrough in peace talks has been made, despite U.S. optimism.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday Israel is not on the way to a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In an interview with the Voice of Palestine radio, Palestinian Authority official Yasser Abed Rabbo accused U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of trying to "appease Israel by fulfilling its expansionist demands in the Jordan Valley under the pretext of security."

Kerry is scheduled to return to the region Wednesday, less than a week after his last trip, and is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Delivering a speech at the Saban Forum in Washington Saturday, Kerry said he was optimistic progress has been made, the Post said.

Talks will focus on U.S. security proposals for the day after the establishment of a Palestinian state, diplomatic officials said.

The security proposals drawn up by retired Gen. John Allen are designed to provide Israel with solutions to its security concerns. The proposals deal with an array of issues including control of airspace, satellite surveillance and security control of the Jordan Valley, the paper said.

Palestinian officials said they rejected Kerry's suggestion Israel would maintain a security presence in the Jordan Valley for 10 years, Israel Radio said.

Aides close to Netanyahu said the Israeli prime minister has rejected the security proposals, saying Israel must maintain a security presence along the border with Jordan, the Post said.

"Kerry is trying to achieve an imaginary success on the Israeli-Palestinian track at our expense," Abed Rabbo said.

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