Following two days of talks in Washington, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to meet again within two weeks and that within nine months they will reach an agreement to end the conflict.
The United States wants the agreement to be based on a “two-state solution,” in which Israel would exist alongside a Palestinian state created in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands occupied by the Israelis since the 1967 war.
The major issues to be agreed on include borders, the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Justice Minister told a press conference in Washington that Israel was taking the negotiations seriously. “We all know that it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be hard, with ups and downs. But I can assure you that these negotiations — in these negotiations, it’s not our intention to argue about the past, but to create solutions and make decisions for the future,” Livni said.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that it was in Palestinian interests to find a solution. “Palestinians have suffered enough. And no one benefits more from the success of this endeavour more than Palestinians. I’m delighted that all final status issues are on the table and will be resolved without any exceptions. And it’s time for the Palestinian people to have an independent sovereign state of their own.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who has helped broker the talks and says he believes peace is possible despite the obstacles.
The next meeting between the two sides will be in either Israel or the Palestinian territories