U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is holding another round of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders aimed at getting the two sides to restart their stalled peace negotiations.
Kerry began a two-day stop Thursday in Israel, where he is meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. He then will travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Kerry said he understands there is skepticism and even cynicism about the long-stalled peace talks, but he expressed optimism about finding a path forward.
"There have been bitter years of disappointment. It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient, but detailed and tenacious, that we can lay out a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people but certainly exhaust the possibilities of peace."
The two sides have been divided on the issue of Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians want those areas as part of a future state, and have refused to negotiate with Israel until it stops the building.
Israel does not want any preconditions for peace talks.
Negotiations broke down in late 2008, and have not resumed, except for brief meetings in September 2010.
This trip is Kerry's fourth to the region since he became secretary of state in February.