Opposition Leader, Jordanian King Meet Over Peace Talks
Jordan's King Abdullah II held talks on Monday with Israeli opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) on the Middle East peace process, a palace statement said.
"The king and the head of the Labor Party and member of the Knesset Yitzhak Herzog discussed efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians under the sponsorship of the United States," the palace said, without elaborating.
Herzog's visit to Jordan came as the United States is struggling to find a formula that would enable Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to continue faltering peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline, according to AFP.
Kerry was heading back to the region Monday, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki announced, in a scramble to save the failing peace talks through last-minute visits to Jerusalem and Ramallah.
"Our negotiating team has been working with both parties on the ground to help them agree on a path forward, and Secretary Kerry has kept in close touch with his counterparts by phone," Psaki stated. "After consulting with his team, Secretary Kerry decided it would be productive to return to the region."
"Over the course of the last eight months, the Israelis and Palestinians have both made tough choices, and as we work with them to determine the next steps, it is important they remember that only peace will bring the Israeli and Palestinian people both the security and economic prosperity they all
deserve," Psaki added.
The fourth and final batch of terrorist releases was refused by Israel on Saturday. Netanyahu reportedly told Kerry that if the release went through it risked toppling his government, given the widespread protest of the unpopular "gesture" to promote the peace talks.
The PA has threatened that it will go to the UN this week in unilateral moves for international recognition, in violation of the peace talk conditions, if the terrorists were not released. It has yet to follow through on that threat.
Abbas has brought the talks to a loggerhead by adamantly refusing to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, as well as demanding several preconditions not previously stipulated earlier in the process of talks. Kerry's visit apparently aims to deal with the massive difficulties faced on all fronts by the peace talks he initiated.