Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has informed the White House in Washington and US Secretary of State John Kerry of his acceptance in principle of the US framework document – subject to the reservations he has raised with US Special Envoy Martin Indyk, DEBKAfile’s exclusive Washington sources report.
This step was followed by news that the prime minister would call on President Barack Obama in the first week of March during his next visit to Washington.
It was also the background to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s defense of the US Secretary in an interview published in TIME Magazine Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Kerry’s comment about boycott and international isolation hanging over Israel if his peace mission failed was denounced in Jerusalem as attempted intimidation. However, Dermer let him off the hook by saying: “I think he was making a descriptive statement. I don’t think he was doing it in order to pressure Israel.”
By overstating the ambassador’s role as “Bibi’s brain,” TIME was hinting that Dermer’s comment represented the prime minister’s current thinking on the incident.
In the exchanges leading up to the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, the prime minister’s office and Israel embassy have asked the White House and State Department to delay publication of the Kerry document to mid-April during the Knesset’s Passover recess. This will help Netanyahu to stay clear of the rowdy debates and heated special sessions he expects to erupt over his acceptance of the paper.
The Secretary of State may therefore add a few weeks to the three-way negotiating time table and release his framework accord at the end of April or early May.
Read more at DEBKA FILE.