This is just being reported by the Times Of Israel; we'll check for additional sources. It's hard to believe that Israel would have accepted the terms offered. This may be a moot point if the Palestinians reject the plan based on not recognizing Israel as a Jewish State. That seems to be a universal "deal-breaker" with Israeli leadership.
Israel is set to give its wary assent to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework peace proposal as the basis for continuing talks with the Palestinian Authority through to the end of 2014, Channel 2 news reported on Saturday night.
The TV report said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman are all inclining to accept the US framework terms, some of which were detailed by Martin Indyk, the State Department’s lead envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, in a conference call with American Jewish leaders on Thursday. The framework document would have to be finalized in the next few weeks, ahead of a scheduled fourth and final phase of Palestinian prisoner releases set for March, the report said.
Well-placed political sources told The Times of Israel at the weekend, meanwhile, that Netanyahu’s agreement to continue peace talks on the basis of the framework proposal need not provoke a coalition crisis with the right-wing Jewish Home party. Provided the framework deal was not binding and was not brought to a government vote, the sources said, the party’s leader, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, would likely not choose to bolt the coalition over it.
Reports in recent weeks have indicated that the Palestinian Authority is set to reject the framework document, but these reports have not been confirmed.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator over the weekend again ruled out the notion of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Speaking at a Munich conference, on a panel with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, Erekat said the demand was unacceptable: “When you say ‘accept Israel as a Jewish state’ you are asking me to change my narrative,” he claimed, asserting that his ancestors lived in the region “5,500 years before Joshua Bin-Nun came and burned my hometown Jericho.”
Several Israeli right-wing politicians castigated Kerry on Saturday for comments he made at the same event, the Munich Security Conference, noting that already Israel was facing increased delegitimization and boycott threats. (A series of banks and pension funds in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Holland have announced a cessation of dealings with Israeli banks and companies in recent days because of those firms’ West Bank activities.)
Kerry said failure to reach a peace deal would damage Israel’s capacity to be “a democratic state with the particular special Jewish character that is a central part of the narrative and of the future.”
Bennett, the economy and trade minister, accused Kerry of incitement and of serving as a “mouthpiece” for anti-Semitic elements attempting to boycott Israel. To Kerry “and all advisers,” Bennett wrote in a Facebook post, “the Jewish people are stronger than the threats against them.” He added that the Jews would not “surrender their land” as a result of economic pressure.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) was also quick to respond to Kerry’s comments. ”Kerry said today that Israel’s economic prosperity and security are an illusion, and that if peace talks fail, Israel will be boycotted. But the truth is that the only illusions are the peace slogans Kerry is trying to sell to Israel. Slogans that cover up an existential threat to the State of Israel,”
Hamas has removed from the Gaza-Israel border most members of the 900-strong force it employs to prevent rocket fire into Israel, The Times of Israel has learned.
Sources in Gaza said the decision of Hamas’s military wing to withdraw most members of the rocket-prevention force, which was first deployed last July, was taken in the wake of Israel’s airstrikes on targets in Gaza overnight Thursday. Those strikes were ordered in response to a rocket attack on the southern city of Netivot on Thursday.
It is possible that Hamas is signaling its anger with Israel over the Israeli retaliatory airstrikes while simultaneously sending messages to the Gaza terror groups not to escalate hostilities for now, The Times of Israel was told.
Last week, in the wake of several incidents of rocket fire into Israel, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned Hamas that it would “pay a heavy price” for such attacks. ”If [Hamas] doesn’t know how to impose its authority on terrorist organizations operating from its territory we will continue to act to make it, and those who are active in terror and fire at Israel, pay a heavy price,” he said.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday that the Israeli military could invade the Gaza Strip and topple its Hamas government if the rocket fire continued. ”If the drip of rockets from Gaza continues, we will have no choice but to go inside [Gaza] in order to eliminate Hamas, and allow the Palestinian Authority to regain control of the Gaza Strip,” Steinitz said.
two Grad rockets were firedAn al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group that operates in the Sinai and Gaza, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility. The group said in a statement that the rocket attack was prompted by “the cooperation between Egypt and Israel and the bombing of Gaza residents.”