John Kerry Lands in Israel Hoping to Energize Peace Talks

Common Ground Scarce as Negotiations Limp On

getty images

By Reuters

Published January 02, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Thursday in his latest bid to reenergize peace negotiations and find scarce common ground between pessimistic Israeli and Palestinian officials.

His visit, the 10th to the region in under a year, aims to lay the foundations of a “framework agreement” that addresses the core issues of the decades-old conflict and open the way for an independent Palestine, according to U.S. officials.

But on the question of borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem, leaders from both sides have sounded far apart this week.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin on Thursday rejected the creation of a Palestinian state based on the lines pre-dating the 1967 Six Day War, in which Israel captured and occupied Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“The Jordan Valley must be under Israeli sovereignty forever,” he said, referring to the border area with Jordan, from which Palestinians want a full Israeli withdrawal.

“The 1967 borders are Auschwitz borders,” Ha’aretz newspaper quoted him as saying, suggesting that any such move would lead to the destruction of Israel.

On Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renewed a call for all Israeli settlers and soldiers within the 1967 lines to be evacuated, saying he would not hesitate to reject a bad deal.

“We will say “yes” to any ideas suggested to us which meet our rights. But we will not fear and will not hesitate for a moment … to say “no,” whatever the pressure, to any proposal which detracts from or doesn’t fulfil the higher national interests of our people,” he said in a speech.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat last month said a framework agreement could allow the talks to be continued for another year. However, earlier this week, he said the U.S.-brokered talks were “failing” and threatened to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, a senior U.S. State Department official said Kerry was not expecting a breakthrough during his latest visit, when he is due to see Netanyahu and Abbas separately on several occasions.

The official, who declined to be named, said an eventual framework accord would act as a guideline for reaching a full peace treaty by the end of April.


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!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • 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.