US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was scheduled to visit Israel Monday, called off the visit at the last moment, in an apparent indication that his attempts to broker an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are not going as well as he'd expected.
Kerry has visited Israel and the PA more than ten times since he took office in early 2013. Monday's scheduled visit was repeatedly touted in the last fortnight as one in which a framework agreement for the next stages of the diplomatic negotiations would be finalized.
At present, the PA objects to the Israeli demand that it recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and refuses to give up on what it terms “the right of return” of displaced Arabs and their descendants to the land of Israel. Israel, for its part, has not yet replied to Kerry's suggestion for the security arrangements in the Jordan Valley that are to replace the presence of the IDF and Jewish communities.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to meet US Vice President Joe Biden Monday. Biden is in Israel to attend the funeral of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. The two are expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear drive and the “peace process.”