RABAT, MOROCCO — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is re-evaluating its role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after both sides broke parts of an agreement on talks toward a two-state solution.
Kerry says President Barack Obama has made clear that U.S. involvement in Mideast peace is not open-ended as Washington confronts crises from Ukraine to Syria to Iran's nuclear program.
"There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps in order to move forward," he said.
However, sources close to the talks said late Friday there will likely be another round of talks Sunday involving U.S., Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
Kerry's most pessimistic assessment of prospects for peace follow the Israeli Cabinet refusing to release a group of Palestinian prisoners and Palestinians voting to join 15 international organizations that would draw them closer to enhanced U. N. recognition.
While neither side has told him they want to quit the peace process, Kerry says it is clearly time for "a reality check."
"Regrettably in the last few days both sides have taken steps that are not helpful. And that's evident to everybody," he said. "So we are going to evaluate very carefully exactly where this is and where it might possibly be able to go."
"Leaders have to lead," Kerry added. "The parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises."
But after a year of trying to bring the sides together, Israelis and Palestinians each accuse the other of violating agreements guiding these Kerry-led talks that are scheduled to stop at the end of this month.
Also Friday, dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in the West Bank town of Beituniya, as they protested Israel's decision not to free Palestinian prisoners. Protesters threw stones at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas.
On Thursday, Israel cancelled the planned release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in response to the Palestinian leadership's signing of more than a dozen international conventions.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Palestinian actions violated the conditions for the release, which were contingent on the Palestinians refraining from making unilateral moves.