TEL AVIV — While the Obama administration claims to be undecided on a French initiative to impose a two-year timeline on the creation of a Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND Tuesday the proposal is being directly coordinated with the White House.
The French plan is to set a vote at the United Nations Security Council on a binding resolution that sets a two-year timetable for a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians to create a Palestinian state along the so-called 1967 borders, with some land swaps.
The 1967 borders refers to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
The French proposal has prompted such serious concern in Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew Monday to Rome, where he held a three-hour meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry to try to convince the U.S. to veto the U.N. bid.
Netanyahu departed the meeting without announcing any assurances he had received from Kerry.
Asked if he was confident in U.S. backing, Netanyahu simply replied he is “confident that what he had to say was heard.”
The prime minister told reporters Israel will “do everything possible” to ensure against the U.N. Security Council imposing a deadline.
Kerry, for his part, reportedly canceled a planned photo opportunity between himself and Netanyahu.
The Associated Press reported the Obama administration is divided on how to approach the French proposal. The AP reported on a White House meeting last week in which President Obama’s top foreign policy advisers were not able to agree on how the U.S. should respond to the U.N. plan.
On the way to Rome, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper quoted a senior official in Netanyahu’s entourage telling reporters that “what is at stake now is a resolution at the U.N. Security Council to try to force Israel to accept the creation of a Palestinian state unilaterally and within a certain time frame.”
According to the official, “the consistent American policy for the past 47 years has opposed such unilateral steps; there is no reason for that to change, and we expect that it won’t change.”
Meanwhile, the senior Palestinian negotiator told WND the Obama administration is coordinating with France on the Security Council bid.
The negotiator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say the U.S. would support the U.N. plan. However, he said the Obama administration sees the French proposal as an acceptable alternative for now to the Palestinian Authority seeking direct unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council.
The negotiator said he believes the U.S. wants to “see Israel sweat” and desires to use the French plan to extract concessions from Netanyahu before presenting the official Obama administration response to France’s U.N. initiative.
The information comes two weeks after Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported the Obama administration was “examining taking action against the construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” including withholding support at the U.N. or financial sanctions on the so-called settlements.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed reports the Obama administration held meetings discussing possible sanctions on Israel over so-called settlement expansions in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
“Reports that [we] might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” Earnest said Monday.
Earnest acknowledged the Obama administration held talks with Israel over disagreements about “settlement” construction.
“We’ve made our views known very clearly about our frustration with Israel,” he said. “It’s clearly in the interest of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people to try to resolve differences. … The settlement activity is counterproductive.”