[Thursday, December 5, 2013] Israeli media sources have reported that United States Secretary General, John Kerry, will be separately meeting, later on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.The sources state that Kerry intends to ask Netanyahu to refrain from issuing new bids for constructions in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and in occupied Jerusalem, as the issue of construction and expansion of Israeli settlement only leads to further complications to political talks.
Kerry’s assistant, John Allens, would also be accompanying Kerry in his tour.
Israel believes that the United States has a plan that would help boost security arrangements on the Palestinian-Jordanian border, and that the plan “would be presented to the Palestinians and Israelis during this tour”.
Kerry would also be discussing the “Iranian file” during his talks with the Israeli Prime Minister, before heading to the central West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with President Abbas.
The Guardian has reported that the visit comes to revive the already troubled Israeli-Palestinian talks, and follows a statement made by the European Union regarding funding cuts to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, should talks make no progress.
The Guardian said that Mohammad Eshtiyya, a Palestinian negotiator who quit the Palestinian negotiations team last month due to Israel’s ongoing violations and escalating settlement construction activities, said that Israel’s escalating violations are only widening gaps in peace talks.
Eshtiyya stated that Israel just wants to illegally annex large areas of the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, and is not interested in real and comprehensive peace with the Palestinians.
Eshtiyya added that the U.S., which mediates direct talks, is leading an unbalanced position in favor of Tel Aviv and its illegitimate policies.
The EU said it might seriously consider withholding more than 300 million euros it annually grants the P.A., should direct talks fail, the Guardian said.
Furthermore, the EU’s Special Envoy to peace talks in the Middle East, Andreas Reinicke, said that half of EU member states support taking action against goods made in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The Guardian quoted an unnamed official of the EU stating that, should direct talks fail, the EU needs to ask itself “why should the transfer continue, as the money would just disappear without the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.’
The EU funding is essential to the survival of the Palestinian Authority, especially amidst its current sharp financial crises, as Israel keeps withholding hundreds of millions in taxes that it collects on behalf of the P.A. at the border terminal, as it controls all border terminals leading to the West Bank.
Earlier this week, President Abbas said the P.A. would resume its international campaign to join more international institutions, and added that the P.A. only agreed to refrain from such actions during the nine months of direct talks, but that the talks did not lead to any significant breakthrough.
Direct talks were resumed on July 29, 2013, after extensive efforts by the U.S. and other countries to resume the political process.
Tel Aviv continued its invasions and violations, issuing bids for the construction of thousands of units in illegal settlements.
However, Israel insists on what it calls “its right to build and expand settlements” in the occupied West Bank and in occupied Jerusalem, in direct violation of International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Tel Aviv also wants to maintain control over West Bank border terminals and Palestinian airspace, and insists on maintaining its presence, as well as on expanding its illegitimate settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley.
Settlements and the annexation wall, in the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, are strangling the Palestinian economy, and are turning the Palestinian territories into isolated ghettos, while Palestinian villagers have lost most of their lands due to Israel’s settlements and the wall, and are largely denied access to their orchards, which have become isolated behind the wall.
Back in July 2004, the International Court ruled that the annexation wall is illegal, as it is a political measure which aims at grabbing more Palestinian land, and called on Israel to remove it.
The International Court denounced the Israeli confiscation and destruction of Palestinian lands and property, and stated that this wall affects the lives of thousands of Palestinians.
In its advisory ruling, the court asked the United Nations to take measures against Israel, but sanctions or measures against Israel are very unlikely, due to U.S. support of Tel Aviv. Israel rejected and ignored the ruling.