US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday that the United States would not impose a peace agreement, but some Israeli officials fear an American peace plan: A senior government official said Saturday night that “Clinton’s remarks on an American bridging plan are a very bad thing. Israel has been trying to avoid an American plan for years, and the bridging plan is in fact a peace plan.”
Other ministers. However, welcomed some of Clinton’s comments, saying she put an end to a preliminary discussion on security borders, “which is a good thing for us.”
“The US is implying that it will activate its Plan B, and they’re going in that direction,” said one of the ministers, who is also a member of the Political-Security Cabinet. “The prime minister must bring his principles to the negotiating table. It’s not necessarily bad that the Americans are putting a plan on the table. It will force the sides to present their stands, and Israel must do so too.”
According to Meridor, “There are some good things in the speech – Clinton was very firm about not going to the UN, and that’s a very important thing as far as we are concerned. She said there would be a simultaneous discussion on five issue, and that puts an end to the ‘security borders first’ story. She also stressed Salam Fayyad’s moves and the need for trust-building measures ahead of a Palestinian state. These are very important elements.”
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom expressed his satisfaction with the fact that “the Americans realized at a delay that focusing on the settlement freeze was a mistake.”According to Shalom, “the negotiations must not focus on the borders.”
Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor) called on Netanyahu to form a political outline which would include the permanent borders, based on the 2000 Clinton plan. He demanded that Netanyahu coordinate with the coalition faction, have the cabinet approve the plan and put it on the negotiating table.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, one of Netanyahu’s associates, told Ynet that “the lines will not be predetermined. Even (Defense Minister Ehud) Barakrejected the American offer to put a plan on the table. No one will agree to predetermine the borders. We have an interest in other things first, not necessarily regarding the borders.”