News / Middle East

Kerry: 'Long Past Time' for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Jan. 24, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Jan. 24, 2014.
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says it is "long past time" that Israelis and Palestinians "became known for what they can create instead of what conflicts they perpetuate."

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Friday, Kerry said the two sides have a lot to gain once peace is achieved. He said Palestinians could become masters of their own fate, growing their economy with new jobs -- and that Israelis could enjoy a new level of security while gaining economic partners across the Middle East that recognize their state.

Kerry said that both sides would also see major economic boosts from an explosion of tourism to the area, which is rich with ancient and religiously significant sites.

The secretary of state added Friday that "today's status quo will not last forever," and that failure will only embolden extremists.

Kerry has made several trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories to convince leaders on both sides to agree to a scaled-back framework deal. The peace agreement, he says, would be a "significant breakthrough."

Earlier, Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the WEF.  A senior State Department official said that meeting focused on the need to address all "core issues."

Israel says the Palestinians should recognize Israel as a Jewish state and stop welcoming as heroes the released prisoners who were convicted of killing Israelis.  Palestinians complain about the building of Israeli settlements, as well as proposals for security arrangements in the Jordan Valley.

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