John Kerry Discusses Mideast Peace in Meetings With Netanyahu and Abbas

Breaking Down Mistrust on Both Sides First Is Key, Says Kerry

Getty Images

By Reuters

Published April 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he is trying to break down mistrust on both sides of the “festering” conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and would not rush into a new peace process.

Making his third visit to the region in less than three weeks, Kerry met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday night and was to sit down to dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu on Monday night.

“I am intensely focused on this issue … because it is vital, really, to American interests and to regional interests to try to advance the peace process and because this festering absence of peace is used by groups everywhere to recruit and encourage extremism,” Kerry told reporters traveling with him.

While Kerry gave no details of his talks, Palestinian officials said he had revisited a 2002 Arab League proposal that offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in a 1967 war and accepted a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.

“The U.S. discussed a renewal of the initiative from the Arab League’s part,” Abbas aide Nimr Hammad told Reuters.

Rejected by Israel when it was originally proposed at a Beirut summit in 2002, the plan has major hurdles to overcome.

Israel objects to key points, including a return to 1967 borders, the inclusion of Arab East Jerusalem in a Palestinian state and the return Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.

Kerry also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday, following the ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, JTA reported. The secretary of state said it was an honor “to share in the uniqueness of that expression of sorrow and honor for this remarkable moment in history which we mark.”

“It has been expressed by your leaders and others for years that people believe in the possibility of the two-state solution. I am convinced there is a road forward,” Kerry said. “would say to everyone that I have no illusions about the difficulties, we’ve seen them. But you have to believe in the possibilities to be able to get there. You and I believe in them and I’m convinced there is a road ahead.”

Kerry said he was trying to chip away at the mutual mistrust that has built up during the conflict, whose main issues include borders, the status of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

“One of the reasons for these early interventions is to get right at the issue of mistrust,” Kerry told reporters traveling with him. “I am convinced that we can break that down but I am not going to do it under … time limits.

“This process should not be rushed subject to some sort of external time limit or artificial process because it’s too important,” he added. “So I am having discussions about those steps that would get at this issue of mistrust.”

Kerry said in addition to easing the mutual suspicion that has built up during the more-than-six-decade conflict, he is also looking at ways to bolster the economies of the region, something he believes could improve the climate for peace.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.