Benjamin Netanyahu Sees Little Progress at Peace Talks as John Kerry Jets In

Israel Has Taken Hard Line With Palestinians

getty images

By Reuters

Published November 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday peace talks with the Palestinians had failed to make real progress and he hoped visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry could get them back on track.

The grim picture painted by the right-wing leader was similar to the one sketched by senior Palestinians, who have said an Israeli plan announced last week for 3,500 more settler homes in the occupied West Bank was a major obstacle to the success of the negotiations.

“I am concerned about the progress because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to avoid, run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace,” Netanyahu told reporters, with a stone-faced Kerry at his side.

Netanyahu said he hoped Kerry’s discussions in Jerusalem and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “will help steer (the negotiations) back to a place where we could achieve the historical peace that we seek.”

Kerry, whose shuttle diplomacy helped to revive the land-for-peace talks last July after a three-year break, said he was confident progress could be made in the six months remaining in a nine-month target window for a deal.

But he also acknowledged the negotiations had run into difficulties and spoke of a need for “real compromises and hard decisions” from both sides.

“President Obama sees the road ahead as do I and we share a belief in this process or we wouldn’t put time into it,” said Kerry, who arrived in Israel on Tuesday.

Few details have emerged from the negotiations, held at unannounced times and at secret locations in line with pledges to keep a lid on leaks.

But Palestinian officials have been airing their frustration over a lack of movement on core issues such as the borders of a Palestinian state, security arrangements, the future of Israeli settlements and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Abbas, in a speech broadcast on Monday, said that after all the rounds of negotiations “there is nothing on the ground”.

Public friction between the two sides has been focused on Israel’s public linkage of its release of Palestinian prisoners and its drive to erect more homes for settlers.

On the sidelines of the peace talks, Israel has released half of the 104 Palestinian prisoners it pledged to free under a deal Kerry brokered to draw Abbas back to negotiations that Palestinians abandoned in 2010 over settlement building.

Palestinians have bridled at any suggestion they agreed to turn a blind eye to the settlement campaign, on land they seek for a state, in return for the men, long-serving inmates convicted of killing Israelis.

The settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories it captured in the 1967 Middle East war are considered illegal by most countries. Israel cites historical and biblical links to the areas, where about 500,000 Israelis now live alongside 2.5 million Palestinians.

In another development, Netanyahu said former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will return to the cabinet after his acquittal in a corruption trial on Wednesday.

The right-wing powerbroker is a hardliner on the peace talks with the Palestinians.


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!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • 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.