News / Middle East

Kerry: Israeli, Palestinian Leaders 'Have to Lead' on Peace Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, next to U.S. Ambassador to Algeria Henry Ensher, smiles as he listens to Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, front left across table, Algiers, April 3, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, next to U.S. Ambassador to Algeria Henry Ensher, smiles as he listens to Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, front left across table, Algiers, April 3, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after both sides broke parts of an agreement on talks toward a two-state solution. Kerry is in Algiers, where he discussed prospects for Mideast peace with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.

Kerry says U.S. negotiators met with Israeli and Palestinian officials in overnight talks that lasted until four in the morning in an effort to move the peace process forward.  

"I think it is a critical moment, obviously," he said. "The dialogue remains open.  There was progress made in narrowing some of the questions that have arisen as a result of the events of the last few days.  But there is still a gap.  But that gap will have to be closed and close fairly soon."

The events of the past few days have been the biggest challenges to eight months of peace talks.  They include the Israeli Cabinet failing to approve the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners and Palestinian officials voting to join 15 international organizations that would draw them closer to enhanced U.N. recognition.

Kerry says Netanyahu and Abbas both understand what the choices are and what the stakes are, as well as their own limits and dynamics.  He says the fight here is not over the fundamental substance of a final status agreement on a two-state solution, but rather over the process to get there.

"It would be a tragedy for both of them, we would say, for them to lose the opportunity to get to those real issues that are the differences of a final status agreement," Kerry said. "A fight over process - how to get into a negotiation - should not stop you from getting into that negotiation.  And so I hope they will consider that very, very carefully."

Kerry says the United States will continue to do everything in its power "to try to bring them together, to find the place of reasonableness, to encourage them to compromise, to show ways in which they might do so.  But in the end, they are the ones who have to say "yes."

"You can facilitate.  You can push," Kerry said. "You can nudge.  But the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises.  The leaders have to lead, and they have to be able to see a moment when it is there."

Each side is accusing the other of violating agreements guiding these U.S.-led talks that are scheduled to stop at the end of this month.

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Comment Sorting
by: Varoujan Tourian from: USA
April 03, 2014 7:44 PM
There is more meaning in one day of social living of Easterners than in a decade in the violently aggressive Western way of life, especially in the asocial Jew-run USA!! The East has survived for a millions of years because, as humans, they know how to give and take. Some are all give, like Mother Theresa! Some are mostly give like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi. Far too many are far too take than give like the Jew-run Imperial USA that has 1,200 bases around the world and dictates to others even what they should think. And then there are the racist, supremacist, Apartheid, elitist, caitiff Jews whose Jehovah has decreed in over 200 Biblical passages that they are CHOSEN over All others whom the Jews call Gentiles because they are all the leprous other inhabitants of this Earth!!

by: John the Baptist from: Outer Space
April 03, 2014 7:41 PM
UUUMMMMM, John.....these people Hate each other.....for thousands of years. UUUMMMMM............perhaps you can be home eating Heinz Ketchup on a burger?

by: Robert Furst from: Boca Raton, FL
April 03, 2014 7:24 PM
The current administration has failed everywhere else why would either of these parties want to put themselves on the line when any betting person knows all it takes is one attack to stop this whole process.

by: ericbl from: seattle
April 03, 2014 6:42 PM
They HAVE to "lead" because Obama says so???

It's not the way the world works.

by: Anthonybellcambers from: London
April 03, 2014 11:08 AM
The right-wing, Likud government of Binyam NetanyahuI is frightened that the State of Palestine will, by joining UN agencies, be in a position to bring charges of war crimes against the Israeli premier and his military chiefs who were reported by the UNHRC to have authorised and executed the killing of over 300 children under the age of 16, in Gaza, during Operation CastLead, over three bloody weeks from Christmas 2008 to January 2009.

No one has, as yet, been brought before the ICC to face these charges. The spectacle of Israeli politicians, armed and funded by the US congress, in court to face such serious charges would be an acute embarrassment to the White House.

by: JohnWV from: USA
April 03, 2014 9:43 AM
Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, a racist state, and will never accept a non apartheid democracy with a Jewish minority. Continuing illegal annexations, settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing have also precluded any negotiated two state solution. Justice may now be served only by imposing resolution just as involuntary, disruptive and humiliating to Israel as Israel has wreaked upon occupied Palestine for generations. The Jewish State must be forced, by whatever means necessary, to recognize an armed Palestine with externally enforced autonomy, eviction of all settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive reparations. American foreign policy may then again serve American interests, not the Jewish state's paranoid pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and racist empire in and beyond the Mideast.

by: bernard swierszcz from: clifton
April 03, 2014 7:41 AM
In my opinion more realistic is on e state solution. Just like European Union. Only the arrogance of the Zionist and the hate built between Arab and Jews make that impossible. Continue apartheid and ethnic-cleaning by Zionist government in Israel is dead end street.
In Response

by: Brenda S. from: Canada
April 03, 2014 10:35 AM
you sound like mild, enlightened, an un-hate filled Iranian Arab... Allahuakbar...!!! LOL

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