“Settlements are part of the territorial issue. Territory borders are going to be a core issue, security, and yes, Jerusalem will be a core issue,” Ambassador Oren said.
After nearly three years of stalled talks, Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations kicked off Monday evening with a dinner in Washington. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Michael Indyk will be guiding the process along with Secretary of State John Kerry.
It was announced on Sunday that talks would resume after Israel agreed to free more than 100 Palestinian prisoners. The two sides had not come to the table since 2010, when continued Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory brought negotiations to a halt.
A contentious point for both sides, Israeli settlements are expected to be a delicate issue in the upcoming negotiations.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren appeared on Andrea Mitchell Reports on Tuesday to discuss how negotiations have gone so far.
“Settlements are part of the territorial issue. Territory borders are going to be a core issue, security, and yes, Jerusalem will be a core issue,” Amb. Oren said.
“We’re willing and ready to discuss all of these very complex issues because we know that’s the only way to get to peace. Negotiations aren’t about negotiations. They’re actually about getting to the peace agreement that we all want,” he said.
Amb. Oren emphasized the importance of getting Israeli and Palestinian citizens on board and preparing them for what lies ahead.
“We’re willing to say there’s going to be pain on both sides, painful concessions,” he said.
Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Tuesday that Palestinians must have a state of their own.
“It’s time for the Palestinians to live in peace, freedom and dignity with their own independent sovereign state,” he said in a news conference with Kerry and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni Tuesday.
Minister Livni acknowledged the hard road but sound optimistic.
“It’s not our intention to argue about the past, but to create solutions and make decisions for the future,” she said.
The two sides plan to meet again within two weeks.