Palestinian Protests Greet John Kerry in West Bank

Anger Builds at Lack of Peace Talks Progress

Where’s Progress? Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Sen. John McCain in Jerusalem. Protests greeted his planned visit to the West Bank, where Palestinians are angry at the slow pace of peace talks.
getty images
Where’s Progress? Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Sen. John McCain in Jerusalem. Protests greeted his planned visit to the West Bank, where Palestinians are angry at the slow pace of peace talks.

By Reuters

Published January 03, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Palestinian protesters on Friday condemned the latest efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to advance peace talks with Israel, using chants evoking the Arab uprisings and telling him to go home.

Hours before Kerry was due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a raucous crowd of several hundred took to the streets of Ramallah, the West Bank’s de facto capital, chanting “Kerry, you coward, there’s no place for you in Palestine!”

Separately, an official close to Abbas dismissed Kerry’s drive for a “framework agreement” as biased toward Israel.

Kerry has said such an accord would narrow gaps between the sides and pave the way for a final deal when the nine-month period allotted the U.S.-backed talks expires on April 29.

But Yasser Abed Rabbo, Abbas’s deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the plan, still being finalised, “restricts Palestinian sovereignty on Palestinian land”.

“The Palestinian side will not even look at a worthless piece of paper, a framework agreement, which contains general principles for later negotiations, when the two sides have already been negotiating for months and years,” Abed Rabo said in a statement published in the al-Ayyam newspaper on Friday.

Palestinian and Israeli officials have publicly differed on the future status of the West Bank’s border with Jordan, where Israelis want a permanent security presence but Palestinians want a full withdrawal of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers.

Israel said last week it planned to build another 1,400 homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Kerry has told reporters that the agreement, besides borders and security, would aim to address all the conflict’s key issues such as refugees and Jerusalem.

The U.S. top diplomat held five hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and saw him again on Friday. He is due to see Abbas later in the day.

Around three hundred activists with the left-wing Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine party rallied in downtown Ramallah hours before Kerry’s scheduled arrival.

“The people want the fall of the framework!” they chanted, evoking the chants heard in protests throughout the Middle East in 2011. “It’s clear, Kerry, we don’t want to see you! The Americans are the enemy of our people!” they added.

Dozens of riot policemen and plainclothes security forces prevented their march from reaching Ramallah’s presidential compound, where Abbas was expected to receive Kerry.

U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, who is also in Israel and has conferred with the Israeli Prime minister, told a news conference on Friday that Netanyahu doubted the proposals.

“Netanyahu has serious, serious concerns about the plan as it has been presented to him, whether it be on the ability of Israel to defend its borders, on the reliability of a Palestinian state … and particularly on the overall security,” he said.

“We also are very concerned,” he said, standing alongside fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.


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!
  • "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."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • 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.