John Kerry Hopes To Narrow Gap as Peace Talks Set To Intensify

Top Diplomat Jets to Middle East Today

getty images

By Reuters

Published January 01, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to narrow differences between Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks this week that are intended to guide the sides toward a deal in April, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

Kerry departs for the region on Wednesday in his first trip after a Christmas break. Israel and Palestinians resumed peace talks in July after a three-year break aimed at producing a peace agreement within nine months to end their decades-old conflict.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kerry did not expect a breakthrough during his visit but is pushing for the sides to agree on a framework of core principles, such as security, the future of Jerusalem and fate of refugees, as soon as possible.

Such a step would also demonstrate to both Israelis and Palestinians that progress is being made. Israel fulfilled part of the U.S.- brokered package for talks by releasing 26 Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday, the third of four groups to go free. {ID:nL6NOK925K]

“The framework is a basis upon which one could negotiate a final peace treaty because the outlines or the guidelines for what the final deal would look like would be agreed up, and then you would work intensively to fill out the details,” the official said.

The official said the framework would act as a guideline for reaching a full peace treaty between the Israelis and Palestinians in April, in which Israel would exist peacefully alongside a new Palestinian state.

“We want to have a detailed consultation with them about these ideas that have been generated as a result of the negotiations between the parties themselves, and see whether they can serve as gap bridges which could lead to this agreement on the framework for permanent status negotiations,” the official added.

The official dismissed earlier comments by U.S. officials that an agreement in April would lead to a year of further talks aimed at a full-blown peace treaty. “It is a two-stage process in our minds, agreement on a framework for negotiations and then a permanent status agreement or a peace treaty” by April, the official said

After 20 rounds of talks Kerry wants to intensify talks further.

“We have established very well where the gaps are, but also generated some ideas that could help to serve as ways of bridging those gaps. The secretary’s trip this time is to start to test those ideas with the two leaders,” the official said.

The official said Kerry “has a real sense of urgency, a real sense of need to strike while the iron is hot. We consider the iron to be hot.”

“We’re going to work assiduously to try to reach this framework agreement as soon as possible,” the official added.


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.