Report: Israel rejects 1967 borders ‘precondition’

(JTA) — Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni reportedly refused to accept the 1967 border as the basis for a final Israeli-Palestinian border prior to negotiations.

Livni told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday that Israel would not agree to the 1967 borders as a precondition of peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Maariv reported. Rather, she said, the border issue must be resolved through talks.

President Obama has called for the resumption of negotiations “on the basis” of the 1967 borders, a reference widely interpreted as allowing for an agreement in which Jewish settlement blocs become Israeli territory in exchange for other areas.

Earlier this week, the Arab League for the first time publicly cited the possibility of “comparable,” mutually agreed and “minor” land swaps between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Livni, who was designated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead any revived talks with the Palestinians, praised the initiative. The Thursday meeting with Kerry in Washington also included Yitzhak Molcho, the top Israeli peace negotiator.

“This opportunity was part of the secretary’s ongoing discussions with Israeli and Palestinian officials, and Arab and European officials who have much at stake as well, to explore possible ways forward to resolve this conflict,” Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, said Thursday after the meeting.

Kerry met earlier this week with an Arab League delegation and praised its reaffirmation of the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offers Israel peace in exchange for a return to the 1967 lines.

“The broader issue is that we’ve seen several positive developments this week,” Ventrell said. “We’ve seen Minister Livni’s remarks in the press, and so we think that there’s been several positive developments and the secretary is going to continue his discussion going forward.”

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