U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel Monday in a new effort to try to prevent the collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Kerry is on his second trip to the region in less than a week. Last week, he was in Jordan for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
This time, the top U.S. diplomat plans to meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and again with the Palestinian leader.
The peace effort has become more contentious in recent days, as Israel declined to carry out the agreed-upon release of a final group of Palestinian prisoners.
The releases were part of the pact that brought the two sides back to the negotiating table for a nine-month period beginning last July.
Israel says it wants the talks extended beyond the period that ends next month before setting the prisoners free. The Palestinians object, saying they will walk away from the talks now if Israel fails to release them as promised.
The parties involved in the peace effort have not publicly discussed the details of the negotiations, but there has been little visible progress on narrowing gaps on major issues. These include the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, borders and security.