John Kerry Sees Small Window To Push for Middle East Peace Talks

Returning to Region Amid Tentative Signs of Progress

Peace Hopes: Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Israeli minister Tzipi Livni in Rome.
getty images
Peace Hopes: Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Israeli minister Tzipi Livni in Rome.

By Reuters

Published May 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Wednesday that Washington was trying to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks within a short time frame as he announced his fourth visit to the region this year.

Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on May 21 or 22, he said after talks in Rome with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is overseeing the Israeli effort to relaunch negotiations.

Kerry, who has been holding talks with Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab officials, is expected to meet Netanyahu and Abbas separately.

“I think it is fair to say that we are working through threshold questions and we are doing it with a seriousness of purpose that I think Minister Livni would agree with me has not been present in a while,” Kerry told reporters.

“We all believe that we are working with a short time span. We understand the imperative to try to have some sense of direction as rapidly as we can.”

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in late 2010 in a dispute over continued Israeli building of Jewish settlements on West Bank land that the Palestinians want for a state.

It remains unclear, however, whether the two sides are ready to make a serious new peace effort, or how much muscle U.S. President Barack Obama is ready to put behind a new initiative.

The main issues to be addressed in a peace agreement include borders, the future of Jewish settlements, the status of Jerusalem and fate of Palestinian refugees.

In addition to his talks with Israelis and Palestinians, Kerry has worked to line up Arab backing, both to support Abbas in any concessions he might ultimately have to make and to offer Israel the possibility of peace with the wider Arab world.

Kerry scored a diplomatic victory last week when the Arab League acknowledged that Israelis and Palestinians may have to swap land in any peace deal.

Arab states appeared to soften their 2002 peace plan on April 29 when Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, said the two sides could trade land rather than conform exactly to their 1967 borders.

His comment, made on behalf of an Arab League delegation, amounted to a concession to Israel. While it has been assumed for at least a decade that land swaps would be part of any peace deal, the Arab League had never explicitly embraced the idea.

Livni said she hoped Arab states would be behind Abbas in eventual negotiations, providing “an understanding, which is very important for us, that peace with the Palestinians means also peace with the Arab world”.


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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.