U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, stated that the gap between the Israeli and Palestinian stances regarding the resumption of direct peace talks is narrowing, and added that he hopes direct peace talks can resume soon.Yet, the White House said that the situation remains unclear, and that President Mahmoud Abbas is leaning towards accepting the American proposals, but also wants a Palestinian decision made by the political factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), including the Fateh movement he heads.
Israeli Ynet News, has reported that talks of resuming direct negotiations are still ‘rumors’, and that all related parties agreed not to reveal to the media details on the current moves.
During a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Joudah in Amman, Kerry said that the gap obstructing talks is now minimal.
“We are approaching our goal”, he said, “I still hope Israel and the Palestinians will sit together in direct talks soon”.
Kerry also said ensuring Israel’s security is a top priority, and added that Tel Aviv will not sign the Arab Peace Initiative without guaranteeing its security and interests.
The U.S. official refused to comment on reporters’ questions regarding the “economic plan to revive the Palestinian economy through a $4 billion development plan”, and only stated that “the U.S. is determined to improve the economic situation and significantly reduce unemployment.”
He also urged Israel to carefully study the Arab Peace Initiative that was presented in 2002. The Initiative offered peace and full normalization with Tel Aviv in return from its full withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem. Israel rejected the plan and demanded significant medications.
Kerry said that “Israel needs to carefully weigh the initiative as 22 Arab countries, and 35 Islamic countries, promised peace and normalization with Tel Aviv.
The Initiative was approved during the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002. Besides offering full recognition with Israel, the Initiative calls for a “fair solution” to the issue of the Palestinian refugees, without insisting on the implementation of all related International resolutions.
Israel insists that its settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem are part of the state, and refuses to fully withdraw from Palestinian territories it captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem. Tel Aviv also refuses to hold talks on vital final status issues such as border, and natural resources.