Xinhua (Opinion)
August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- As Israel extended an olive branch to the Palestinians by renewing peace negotiations, the Palestinians said Israel can not halt their bid for recognition of a full membership in the United Nations and of a Palestinian state within the lines that existed prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.


Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted now the proposal that the borders of the two sides should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, he rejected the plan originally when U.S. President Barack Obama raised the idea in his Middle East speech on May 19.

A high-level official of the Israeli foreign ministry told Xinhua that peaceful negotiations will be based on the 1967 lines. However, it doesn't mean an inch-to-inch bargaining. The final results still have more room for maneuvers.

Netanyahu said Monday that Israel and the U.S. have reached a written agreement that the U.S. will not squeeze the Jewish country to back to the 1967 lines in any future peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, adding the lines are merely a foundation of negotiation, rather than a result.


Israel and the Palestinians react differently to Obama's proposal. The Palestinians stress the 1967 lines while Israel focuses mainly on "swaps" which may allow a border line that differs from the 1967 lines.

Analysts point out that Netanyahu accepted the proposal without gestures of good faith. Israel is trying to halt the Palestinians' unilateral move for UN recognition. Israel's stance has not changed and it still adopts a tough policy on core issues of peaceful process with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, some argue that the Netanyahu administration's extension of an olive branch to the Palestinians was to divert domestic attention as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in recent days to protest price increases.


Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, reiterated that peaceful negotiations should be based on the 1967 lines, but it is not enough unless Israel freezes its settlement construction in the West Bank.

Rabbo also rejected Israel's demand that the Palestinians drop their UN. bid and acknowledge Israel as homeland for the Jewish people.

Analysts said to acquire more international sympathy and support, Israel was trying to shape a image that it is the Palestinians that refuse to talk with Israel.

Analysts said the Palestinians will not drop their demand at the UN. General Assembly in September despite Israel's empty promise.


Although the Arab League backs the Palestinians, some members of the league are trapped by domestic unrest, including Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, that may weaken support.

In the meantime, the Palestinians sent an envoy, Hanan Ashrawi, to persuade the United States to not to veto their initiative. Obama, however, asked the Palestinians to press their case in direct negotiations with Israel instead of taking it to the United Nations.

Ashrawi said the Obama administration has already decided on a veto because the government is subject to a pro-Israel lobby that has huge influence within the American government.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017