TEL AVIV – An Egyptian newspaper published what it said were leaked transcripts of alleged secret meetings between senior White House officials – including Secretary of State John Kerry – and the Palestinian Authority that purport to show that the Obama administration orchestrated the anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council.
The White House has denied the report about the transcripts.
Egyptian paper Al-Youm Al-Sabaa published what it said were transcripts of alleged meetings earlier this month between Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice on the one hand, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and head of Palestinian intelligence Majaad Faraj on the other. In the transcript, Kerry is quoted as promising that the U.S. will “cooperate” with the Palestinians.
“We are ready to cooperate with you at the Security Council [to ensure] a balanced resolution. We have instructed our representative to the UN, Samantha Power, to maintain contact with the Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour,” Kerry told Palestinian officials according to a translation from the Arabic by Hebrew-language outlet nrg.
The alleged transcripts purport to reveal the Obama administration’s attitude towards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Kerry and Rice quoting as saying that Netanyahu wants to “destroy the two-state solution. Erekat predicted this four years ago and he was correct. Except for minor changes, Netanyahu wants to keep the status quo.”
Kerry stated that he intends to outline the parameters for a final status solution “on condition that they will be acceptable to the Palestinians,” the transcript said. He further recommended that the Palestinians send a delegation to Riyadh to present the terms to Saudi leaders.
The White House and State Department have both denied the US was involved in helping the Palestinians orchestrate the resolution.
National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price called the Egyptian report about the alleged transcripts a “total fabrication.”
Prince told the Times of Israel that Erekat met with Kerry and Rice separately and not together, as the transcripts alleged.
“This alleged meeting… never happened,” Price said. “The ‘transcript’ is a total fabrication.”
Erekat has claimed that the alleged transcripts were fabricated to back up the Israeli government’s accusation that the Obama administration helped push the resolution.
Kerry is scheduled to give a speech Wednesday delineating parameters for a Palestinian state. Israel fears that Kerry’s parameters could be enshrined in another UN Security Council resolution in the midnight hours of President Barack Obama’s term.
In apparent disagreement, Rice said that the Palestinians should be cautious about presenting parameters for resolving the conflict because the incoming “Trump administration will reject it outright,” according to the published transcripts.
“The Trump administration is dangerous,” she reportedly added.
The issue of President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to transfer the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was also raised in the meeting, the transcripts show. Erekat told the U.S. officials that if Trump were to go through with it, the PLO would nullify its recognition of Israel.
He added that an embassy move would trigger the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority and all responsibility would be handed back to Israel. The Palestinians would also present the International Criminal Court at the Hague with lawsuits against IDF soldiers’ alleged war crimes. Furthermore, the Palestinians would demand that Arab nations oust all U.S. ambassadors from their countries.
Kerry and Rice responded that such drastic measures would be unwise since they would further provoke Trump.
They also said the Trump administration will likely adopt a policy on the Israel-Palestinian conflict that would be totally “different to that of previous administrations.”
Kerry and Rice added that it was up to the Palestinian leadership to prevent “suicide bombings and attacks,” since Palestinian violence only serves to “damage the Palestinian cause.”
Towards the end of the meeting, the U.S. officials requested that the Palestinian representatives ensure that the contents of the meeting were not leaked to the press, especially during the sensitive transition period between the two administrations, according to the transcripts.
The Egyptian report substantiates claims made by Netanyahu’s office that it had “ironclad” proof from Arab sources that the Obama administration was behind the anti-settlement resolution.
“We have ironclad information that emanates from sources in the Arab world and that shows the Obama administration helped craft this resolution and pushed hard for its eventual passage,” said David Keyes, spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The Obama administration rejected Israel’s claims that it helped draft the resolution, saying the decision not to veto came only after reading the final text.