[Friday June 28 2013] Reuters has reported that U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem for the second time in 24 hours. The second meeting was supposed to be held Sunday.Kerry’s meeting with Netanyahu came after he met Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Amman, Jordan.
Palestinian and American sources did not reveal details on the Kerry-Abbas meeting, but said it is part of U.S. efforts aimed at resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli talks. Meanwhile, Israeli officials said that “talks can be resumed once Abbas stops placing preconditions”.
Kerry, visiting the region for the fifth time in an attempt to revive talks, did not present any plans or initiatives for resuming talks, but previously stated that he would not return to the region if he did not believe he can make a progress.
American officials believe that Israel and the Palestinians will resume direct talks once agreeing on confidence building measures that could facilitate these talks; such measures include freezing settlement activities and releasing some Palestinian political prisoners.
On Thursday [June 27] Kerry held a meeting with king Abdullah of Jordan, and discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, and the efforts to resume the political process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel views demanding it to freeze its settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem, as preconditions by the Palestinians.
Tel Aviv also believes it has the right to keep its settlement blocks in the occupied territories, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, refuses withdrawal from East Jerusalem, refuses to fully stop its illegal settlement activities, in addition to refusing to hold talks on other vital issues such as borders, natural resources and the Right of return of Palestinian refugees.