Secretary of State John Kerry quietly presented a U.S. plan for eastern Jerusalem that calls for an international administrative mandate to control holy sites in the area, according to informed Palestinian and Israeli diplomatic sources.
The exact composition of the international mandate is up for
discussion, the sources said, but Kerry’s plan recommended a coalition
that includes the Vatican, together with a group of Muslim countries
such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The international arrangement is being proposed as a temporary
solution for about two to three years while security arrangements in
Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians are finalized, said the
Israel, the sources said, was not receptive to the particulars of
Kerry’s plan, especially the concept of Turkish participation in
Jerusalem. Kerry told the Israelis he would hold talks with the Kingdom
of Jordan about its playing a leading role in the proposal in the place
of Turkey, the sources added.
Kerry was in Jerusalem on Friday as part of an Obama administration
effort to reach a deal for a Palestinian state by April, a timeline that
is still on track, Kerry told reporters.
“We are working on an approach that both guarantees Israel’s security and fully respects Palestinian sovereignty,” Kerry added.
According to the Israeli and Palestinian diplomatic sources speaking
to WND, Kerry’s trip this time around focused specifically on the
particulars of security arrangements for the strategic Jordan Valley
following a deal.
In October, WND exclusively reported Kerry was strongly urging Israel
to give up the Jordan Valley in closed-door talks with the Palestinian
The current round of U.S.-brokered talks is attempting to hash out the details of a plan for the valley.
The Jordan Valley cuts through the heart of Israel. It runs from the
Tiberias River in the north to the Dead Sea in the center to the city of
Aqaba at the south of the country, stretching through the biblical
The U.S. proposal calls for international forces to maintain security
control along with unarmed Palestinian police forces, a senior
Palestinian Authority negotiator told WND in October.
Israel will retain
security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley, according
to the U.S. plan.
Previous talks incorporated an element of Jordanian authority in the
Jordan Valley, but the Kingdom of Jordan is wary of participating in a
future Palestinian state, the negotiator said.
The Palestinian negotiator pointed to the insurgency in Syria and
changes of leadership in Egypt as reasons for Jordanian reluctance to
assume any security control over Palestinian areas.