The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams arrived at the State Department building in Washington Monday night after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set the wheels into motion for the first direct peace talks in almost three years.
The negotiating teams began talks over the traditional Iftar dinner that breaks the Ramadan fast, being hosted at State Department building by Kerry.
The Iftar dinner was relatively informal and is intended primarily to establish a friendly atmosphere. However, a senior Israeli official noted that the parties will begin discussing the agenda for negotiations during dinner.
During the press conference earlier Monday, Kerry lauded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, for their efforts to move the process forward.
Speaking from Cairo where he was meeting with Egypt’s interim president Adli Mansour, Abbas said that no Israeli settlers or border forces could remain in a future Palestinian state and that Palestinians deem illegal all Jewish settlement building beyond the Green Line.
Read more at Haaretz.com.