[Wednesday, December 18, 2013] Senior Palestinian sources are accusing the Obama administration of taking up Israeli positions in the peace talks. During U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s last two visits to the region, and in his meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, there were great disagreements and a difficult atmosphere which prevailed in the discussions, the Palestinian News Network (PNN) has reported.

According to the PNN, Haaretz reports that, in addition to a security plan suggested by the US — which proposes an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley for 10 years — upon Palestinian statehood, the issue of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, as demanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was also raised.

Al-Hayat newspaper, based in London, reported that the United States has agreed to Israel’s demand regarding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and that the Americans are putting pressure on the Palestinians to accept this position, and to include it in the solution that Kerry plans to present in the coming weeks.

The PNN reports that a source close to Abbas said that “The Americans see this as a legitimate proposal, but the Palestinian response was clear – that we cannot agree to suggestions that constitute a gross violation of Palestinian national principles. Imagine if the United States would demand that it be recognized as a state of white Christians. What would the response be in the United States and in the rest of the world?”

In addition, the Palestinians resent the new preoccupation with keeping Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, and claim that Israel is presenting the issue as separate from the core issues defined in the Oslo Accords, which include borders, refugees, settlements, security arrangements and water sources.

“Israel is doing all it can to lengthen the negotiations by bringing more and more clauses to the table, to cause a delay and to make the talks so cumbersome and complicated that they won’t produce any practical results,” a source told Haaretz.

Palestinians no longer believe Kerry to be a neutral negotiator. The meeting that was held with him, last Friday, was described as being a very difficult one, one that left Palestinians uncertain as to the future of the talks.