Likud, Labor officials complete outline on final-status proposals

JERUSALEM, Jan. 22 (JTA) — Legislators from the Likud and Labor parties have completed a joint position paper outlining their proposals for the final-status negotiations with the Palestinians. Knesset members Michael Eitan of Likud and Yossi Beilin of Labor had spearheaded the contacts, which aimed to build a broad legislative consensus on what they feel Israel’s positions should be in the final- status talks. Likud and Labor officials have been tackling in recent weeks a host of thorny issues — including the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood, Jewish settlements, future borders and Palestinian refugees – - that are due to come up in the negotiations with the Palestinians. The final-status talks are scheduled to resume in March. The position paper states that most Jewish settlements should remain under Israeli sovereignty. But it does not state whether the future Palestinian entity should be an independent state, as Labor suggests, or an expanded autonomy, as Likud has proposed. It also does not contain specific maps with borders. Eitan said this week that with the country facing some crucial decisions, it was important “for us to look at our positions, to compare the ideologies of our platform and ask the questions, not about the past, but about the present.” Eitan said he hoped to be able to present the document to the public by next week. He said that while the agreement did not represent the official stand of the Israeli government, “I think it will help in the discussions.” The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement stressing that the paper did not represent the government’s official stand. Netanyahu’s office also said the premier disagreed with a number of the paper’s conclusions.

NEXT STORY