Kerry's Meetings 'Positive', Say Officials
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been having “positive” meetings in the Middle East, reports said on Friday.
Kerry and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon, their second meeting in 24 hours.
The contents of the meeting were not disclosed, but an American official was quoted by Kol Yisrael radio as having said that the meeting was “detailed and meaningful." The two agreed to meet for a third time on Saturday night.
Kerry, who is trying to break a protracted deadlock in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, met Netanyahu in Jerusalem before and after a visit to Amman for lunch with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
A State Department official told AFP that Kerry's two-and-a-half hour meeting with Abbas on Friday afternoon was "very constructive... (and) focused on the importance of moving the peace process forward".
These two men will also meet again in Amman on Saturday, an official said.
After his meeting with Netanyahu, Kerry met President Shimon Peres at his residence in Jerusalem for talks and stayed for the Sabbath-eve dinner.
Welcoming his guest, Peres praised Kerry's efforts in seeking to prepare the ground for peace talks.
"All of us admire your investment in creating really the right environment," said Peres, according to AFP.
"It is difficult, there are many problems. But as far as I'm concerned I can see how (among) people, there is a clear majority for the peace process, a two-state solution, and a great expectation that you will do it and that you can do it."
Kerry is expected to hold a press conference on Saturday night in which he will summarize his latest visit to the Middle East.
Netanyahu has clearly indicated on more than one occasion that he is willing to return to the negotiating table without preconditions. Abbas, however, has refused to talk and has continued to impose preconditions on talks with Israel, including a demand that Israel release terrorists who were jailed before 1993, freeze construction in Judea and Samaria and even present a map of the future Palestinian state before any negotiations take place.
Meanwhile, a newly released poll finds that most Israelis support the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, but do not really believe that the diplomatic process can yield a peace agreement
When asked what the one thing Israel must never relinquish in talks should be, 35.5% thought the one thing Israel must never do is divide Jerusalem, while 30.3% were most opposed to giving PA Arabs the right of return, which would see Israel being flooded by millions of Arabs. Another 17.6% said that Israel must refrain from handing over all the territories, while 7% were most opposed to handing over the so-called “settlement blocs.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)