The Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael B. Oren, spoke by conference call to Jewish leaders on Thursday to discuss his country’s priorities for any future negotiations with the Palestinians, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) report. Calling them “terms of reference,” Ambassador Oren said Israel would agree to talks if the framework included “the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; no return of Palestinian refugees; and a long-term military presence for Israel along the Jordan-West Bank border. Also, that an agreement would end all claims.”
The JTA article added, Ambassador “Oren offered the terms after describing the recent intensive shuttle diplomacy aimed at restarting direct talks, with negotiators and U.S. facilitators traveling back and forth in recent weeks between Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah.
“During the call organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Oren insisted that the terms were not preconditions; Israel has pushed back Palestinian demands for a settlement freeze as an unwarranted precondition. Pressed by a questioner, however, Oren acknowledged that Israel’s demand that the Palestinian Authority end reconciliation talks with Hamas was a precondition.
“Hamas is not a game changer, it’s a game stopper,” he said.”