EU: Abbas close to accepting direct Mideast peace talks; Report: Netanyahu to offer withdrawal from 90% of West Bank
Middle East sources are reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will offer Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas 90% of the West Bank and will evacuate 50,000 settlers. Of course, the Prime Minister's Office has denied the report as "unfounded", but such a denial usually means the report is accurate.
Those who have knowledge of the plan say it will be in the form of an interim agreement and not a permanent plan. Netanyahu does not believe the time is right for a permanent peace plan. Here is a summary of why he plans to propose such an offer:
According to the sources, Netanyahu informed the Western delegates he met with recently that the current situation was not right for reaching a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and that he planned to present a proposal for a new interim agreement, which would be "extensive and tempting" to the Palestinians.
The same sources added that Netanyahu believes his offer would be tempting to the Palestinians, as it gives them an extensive part of the West Bank while evacuating a large number of settlements, without forcing them to sign an agreement ending the conflict or ceasing their demand to receive the rest of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
According to the sources, the offer matches the stand of the Hamas organization, which would welcome any new Israeli withdrawal, as long as this does not force the Palestinians to give up on the rest of the territory (Ynetnews.com).
The article further states that Netanyahu would work toward reaching a temporary, but long-term agreement.
This should turn on a red light for Bible prophecy students. The Bible teaches that the peace accord that the Antichrist will confirm will last for seven years (Daniel 9:27). That sounds like a long-term temporary peace accord to me.
The quartet is calling for the Israelis to extend the settlement freeze and to agree to peace within 24 months from the start of direct talks. European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton says Abbas is very close to agreeing to direct talks and could make an announcement as soon as early next week. Abbas said that he would agree to direct talks if the Israelis would abide by the quartet mandate.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Mitchell had held "good, productive meetings" in the region.
"We have confidence that we're moving in the right direction and ultimately will be successful," Toner said. "Is it difficult, yes. Are there issues? Sure. But we're going to keep moving forward and we are moving forward (Haaretz.com)."
In other news, Russian officials are reporting that they will power up the Bushehr reactor in about a weeks time. "The fuel will be charged in the reactor on 21 August. From this moment, Bushehr will be considered a nuclear installation," spokesman Sergei Novikov said (BBC).
Due to pressure from the US, Russia backed down from selling the advanced S-300 interceptor battery to Iran to protect the reactor. But, Debkafile sources are reporting that they have instead placed the batteries in Abkhazia and air defense weapons in South Ossetia. Moscow officially said the move was to combat a threat from Georgia. However, Israeli officials say they made the move in case the US and/or Israel decides to bomb the reactor (Debkafile).
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