Monday, January 2, 2017

Report: Kerry, Palestinians held 'secret meetings'

Says 2 sides 'agreed to cooperate' in drafting U.N. resolution against Israel

Bob Unruh   1-2-17


U.S. officials stunned the free world, especially their own citizens and those of close ally Israel, just before Christmas when they abstained from a U.N. resolution condemning Israel for building housing.

But they mostly have insisted they had nothing to do with bringing the resolution to the international organization’s agenda, an assertion that conflicts with a new report from an Egyptian daily newspaper, the Al-Youm Al-Sabi’.

The publication says that just days before the U.N. Security Council vote, a Palestinian Authority delegation met in Washington with Obama administration officials “for secret talks.”
The details of the Egyptian report has been documented by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

MEMRI said the Egyptian paper, “which is close to Egyptian intelligence services, published an expose of the minutes of the secret talks, according to the report, by Ahmed Gomaa, the Palestinian delegation included PLO executive committee secretary and negotiating team leader Saeb Erekat; Palestinian general intelligence chief Majid Farah” and others.

“According to the report,” MEMRI said, “the minutes of the ‘top secret’ meeting of [Secretary of State John] Kerry, [National Security Adviser Susan] Rice, Erekat, and Faraj revealed U.S.-Palestinian coordination leading up to the U.N. Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 regarding Israel’s settlements, which was adopted December 23.

“It states that the sides ‘agreed to cooperate in drafting a resolution on the settlements’ and that the U.S. respresentative in the Security Council was ’empowered’ to coordinate with the Palestinian U.N. representative on the resolution,” MEMRI said.

Also at the meeting, Rice “pointed out the ‘danger’ of the incoming Trump administration’s policies, the report stated, adding that both she and Kerry had advised President Abbas to make no preliminary moves that might provoke the new administration.”

“Rice even offered to help arrange a meeting between the Palestinian delegation and a representative from the Trump team, by enlisting the help of World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder.”

MEMRI reported, “Also at the meeting, Erekat warned that if the U.S. Embassy was moved to Jerusalem, the Palestinians would call to expel U.S. embassies from Arab and Muslim capitals, the report said.”

The Egyptian newspaper said the two sides “agreed to collaborate regarding a resolution on the settlements. … during the meeting, the American side focused on coordination of positions between Washington and Ramallah regarding the resolution on the settlements, which was brought to a vote in the Security Council and adopted several days ago.”

The report stated that “the minutes of the meeting reveal American-Palestinian coordination regarding the resolution on the settlements” and that Kerry and Rice stressed that “they were willing to cooperate with a balanced resolution, and that Washington’s U.N. mission was authorized to discuss this matter with the Palestinian representative to the U.N., Ambassador Riyad Mansour.”

It continued: “The U.S.’s representative to the Security Council coordinated with the Palestinian ambassador on the issue of the resolution condemning the settlements.”

The Egyptian report said Kerry “raised the possibility of presenting ideas for a permanent solution, provided that they are supported by the Palestinian side … and this refers to principles that have already been raised as part of the Framework Agreement.”

“He also proposed that the Palestinian delegation travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss these points, but according to the minutes, he did not contact the Saudis on this matter. [Additionally,] according to the minutes of the meeting, National Security Advisor Susan Rice rejected, and ridiculed, the offer to propose ideas, arguing that the [incoming] administration of Republican President Donald Trump will completely oppose them.”

It continued: “According to the minutes of the meeting, Susan Rice asked whether the Palestinian delegation could meet with a representative from Donald Trump’s team. She clarified that she could request intervention and could organize this by means of World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder. Saeb Erekat responded that he had already asked but that Lauder could not. He added: ‘We were told that they were still organizing the new administration, and that once they were done, they would officially meet with the Palestinian side.'”

Also, “the Palestinian side officially demanded that the 1987 U.S. law designating the PLO a terrorist organization be rescinded. Furthermore, both sides agreed to establish a bilateral commission to examine visa requests from Palestinians and entry and movement visas for Palestinian leadership in the U.S.,” the report said.


The report concluded, “John Kerry and Susan Rice asked that the meetings be classified ‘Top Secret’ and that what went on in them not be leaked, in light of the sensitivity of the transition between the two U.S. administrations.”