Netanyahu mulling interim peace deal


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly is considering seeking a long-term interim peace deal with the Palestinians that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders.

The impetus for an interim deal comes as peace talks between the two sides have broken down. The possibility of working out an interim deal was published Wednesday in several Israeli newspapers citing unnamed sources in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Haaretz reported that the plan would include a Palestinian state. During the interim peace, Israel and the Palestinians could continue to negotiate a final status deal, according to the reports.

"Of course, Israel would prefer a final status peace agreement, but that has become all but impossible because of the Palestinian refusal to negotiate," an unnamed government official told CNN. "We are looking at options for steps forward that will help lead to a two-state solution and move the process forward."

The Quartet on the Middle East — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States — met  Wednesday in Brussels to discuss how to advance the peace process. Netanyahu did not send a representative to the meeting after being told there would be no meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian representatives.

Saeb Erekat, who recently resigned as a Palestinian negotiator, represented the Palestinian Authority at the meeting. Representatives of the Quartet will be in Israel next week to update Israeli negotiators on the process.

The Palestinians have said they will not resume talks with Israel until all settlement construction is frozen in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. 

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