When we sat down in Stockholm in the summer of 1994...our conclusion was clear: if we want to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, we have to concur from the start that the Palestinian state will be established on all of the territory. This is the Palestinians' basic incentive for an agreement, and from this point of departure we should negotiate the details. Such a negotiating framework needed to be based on an additional set of understandings: that the agreement must deliver security to Israel, that the border would take into account certain Israeli demographic interests and that Israel could not make concessions regarding the Jewish nature of the state.
...Today, unlike in the past, the vision of reality with regard to a settlement acceptable to a majority on both sides is almost completely clear. Accordingly, a UN Security Council decision with strong American support would constitute a significant catalyst for a permanent status peace treaty if it replaced 242 and determined that a peace agreement would create a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with equal territorial swaps in areas not exceeding, say, three percent of the territory. Such a proposal need not comprise a precise delineation of the border, which should be determined through bilateral technical negotiations.
JERUSALEM (AFP) - A group of Israeli negotiators met secretly with representatives of the governing Palestinian Hamas movement in London earlier this month, Israeli public television reported.
The meeting was organized by an intermediary for the former British intelligence (MI6) officer Alistair Crook, the report said.
The Israelis who took part in the talks described Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's moderate Fatah party as a "has-been" and said it was necessary to engage in dialogue with Hamas.
For their part, the Islamists of Hamas urged Israel to send amenable Israeli politicians, such as leftist former minister Yossi Beilin, to hold talks with Hamas in order to end its "international isolation."
The Hamas representatives refused during the discussions to recognize the Jewish state as demanded by Israel and the West, while proposing a "truce of 20 or 30 years," the report said.
Among the Israelis who participated in the talks were Yair Hirschfeld, an academic who was one of the main negotiators for the 1993 Oslo accords, and reserve general Shlomo Brom who is currently a researcher at Tel Aviv University.
Ahmed Yussef, a close advisor to Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, was among the Hamas representatives.
And by the way, when I was in London, debating with, among others, Dr. Rosemary Hollis of Chatham House, she said that she had been involved in something similar but was informed that bringing Hamasniks into Britain was against the law.