Thomas Friedman predicts John Kerry is on the cusp of suggesting a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.
The New York Times’ lightning rod of a columnist laid out his thoughts on the Secretary of State’s peace framework yesterday, in an op-ed published as Friedman himself is in Israel.
Kerry has made at least 10 visits to the Middle East since take the state post last February, and has seen little progress in his bid to build a lasting framework for the Israelis and Palestinians. As far as Friedman is concerned, that is about to change.
“The ‘Kerry Plan,’ likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank [based on the 1967 lines], with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley,” writes Friedman.
“The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.”
Friedman’s predictions are hardly revolutionary, as media outlets have been presenting similar theories since peace talks picked up last year following nearly three years of a freeze. However, the NYT’s writer is considered a leading voice among Middle East pundits, and his pieces typically draw attention.
Friedman ended his op-ed with a warning this might be the last chance in a while to establish a two-state solution, an ominous tone that several news agencies have adopted.
“So that’s where we are,” Friedman writes. “Israelis and Palestinians need to understand that Kerry’s mission is the last train to a negotiated two-state solution. The next train is the one coming at them.”