Kerry to Return to Israel Friday to Discuss PA, Iran
US Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Israel on Friday to discuss the Iranian nuclear talks and peace with the Palestinian Authority, AFP reports.
Speaking to the Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would also discuss the Iran talks with French President Francois Hollande, who arrives in Israel later Sunday, as well as with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he travels to meet him in Moscow on Wednesday.
"We will also do that with the American Secretary of State of State John Kerry, who arrives here on Friday," the Israeli premier said, quoted by his office after a weekly meeting of his cabinet. "I hope we'll be able to convince our friends this week and in the following days to get a much better deal. It can be achieved," he said in remarks ahead of a new round of talks in Geneva between world powers and Iran set for November 20.
"Iran is under economic pressure, and continuing to apply pressure and even increasing it can yield a much better diplomatic result."
Netanyahu said he and Kerry would also discuss the ongoing direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Talks between Israel and the PA tanked last week after PA negotiators pulled out, protesting Israel's demands to safeguard the security of its citizens. The PA has also demanded that Israel change its current coalition government to facilitate the talks' success - a move which may not be possible given the current political climate.
The talks have also caused a landmark falling out between the US and Israel, after Kerry made a number of inflammatory remarks - including claims that Jewish residence in Judea and Samaria is "illegitimate" and threats of a "third intifada" if talks fail. US and Israeli officials have endeavored to fix the precarious situation over the weekend, with unclear results.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly emphasized both his willingness to engage with Iran in a diplomatic solution, and a connection between US support of Iran sanctions and the success of Israel-PA talks. However, he is not willing to see eye-to-eye with Netanyahu over the importance of Israel ensuring regional and national security. Recent reports indicate that he is further stalling renewal of relations by ignoring Netanyahu's calls.