Israel-Palestinian peace closer than ever, Kerry says

kerry abbas peresIsrael and the Palestinians are within touching distance of a breakthrough agreement that would end their historic conflict, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said.

America’s top diplomat struck an unexpectedly upbeat note at the end of a 36-hour visit – his eighth to the region this year – that was billed in advance as an attempt to rescue peace talk mired in crisis.

“I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve and have been yearning for,” Mr Kerry said at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, adding that he expected to make a return visit in the next two weeks. “The naysayers are wrong to call peace in this region an impossible goal.”

Quoting Nelson Mandela, he added: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Mr Kerry’s comments came after three meetings in two days with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and another with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, who had earlier reiterated a threat to seek recourse to the UN if the current negotiations yielded nothing at the end of their nine-month time frame.

The positive tone was all the more surprising given the focus on security arrangements after any peace deal.
Mr Netanyahu has insisted that Israeli forces must maintain a presence in the strategically vital Jordan Valley area of the West Bank – a suggestion the Palestinians have rejected as effectively handing Israel control over their borders.

“I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve and have been yearning for,” Mr Kerry said

Osama Qawasmi, an official with Mr Abbas’ Fatah grouping, told the BBC that the Palestinians were prepared to accept Nato or international forces on their territory, but not Israeli troops

Mr Kerry was reported to have arrived with a plan prepared by General John Allen, a retired US military commander, aimed at bridging the gap between the two sides.

Israeli media reports suggested that the US proposals came closer to satisfying Israel’s demands than the Palestinians’. Objections from the Palestinians prompted him to arrange a third, unscheduled meeting with Mr Netanyahu on Friday, Maariv newspaper reported.

“If Israel’s security can’t increase as a result of an agreement, it’s very difficult to make an agreement,” the US secretary of state said, acknowledging concerns voiced by Mr Netanyahu. “Obviously, security is paramount in the minds of the prime minister and his team with respect to their ability to move forward on other issues.”

Earlier, Mohammed Shtayyeh, one of the two Palestinian negotiators in talks that restarted last August, urged the establishment of an international conference in Geneva similar to that which recently produced an interim agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme.

“The success of the Geneva talks over the Iran issue, and the possibility of success for the Syrian issue, makes us wonder why there is no talk about a Geneva-Palestine discussion,” he wrote in Haaretz, a liberal Israeli newspaper. “An active international role under the framework of a multilateral conference could set and implement requirements and obligations for peace rather than granting impunity to the stronger party so it can violate agreements without any sort of arbitration mechanism.”

The Telegraph

  • MekensehParty

    Man if they can pull this one out too…
    But let’s not jinx them.
    Crossing fingers, the world is too advanced for these silly conflicts and time to put them in the past.

  • MekensehParty

    Man if they can pull this one out too…
    But let’s not jinx them.
    Crossing fingers, the world is too advanced for these silly conflicts and time to put them in the past.

  • MekensehParty

    Man if they can pull this one out too…
    But let’s not jinx them.
    Crossing fingers, the world is too advanced for these silly conflicts and time to put them in the past.

  • Constantin7

    Imagine if there is peace withe the Palestinians, Lebanon will be next for sure. I would love to drive from Beirut to Akka, Haifa and Jerusalem and visit the holy land. I am sure plenty of Israeli would love to visit Lebanon in winter and summer. Wow a wonderful thing it would be….let’s visualize it so that it can happen !!!!

    • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

      Yup. Me too. I have Lebanese relatives and friends.

      • Rose Rohana

        “Yup” You bet..

    • Rose Rohana

      It was exactly like this Before Israel.
      Families & friends would drive along the Sea spend
      the weekend with family in Beyrouth, Zahleh, wherever..
      And vice-versa.

      • MaImequer0

        Yes, when the whole area was colonized by British / French / Otto’s…. SO, you wish to trade our Independence with colonialism?

  • Constantin7

    Imagine if there is peace withe the Palestinians, Lebanon will be next for sure. I would love to drive from Beirut to Akka, Haifa and Jerusalem and visit the holy land. I am sure plenty of Israeli would love to visit Lebanon in winter and summer. Wow a wonderful thing it would be….let’s visualize it so that it can happen !!!!

    • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

      Yup. Me too. I have Lebanese relatives and friends.

      • Hind Abyad

        You bet..

    • Hind Abyad

      It was exactly like this Before Israel.
      Families & friends would drive along the Sea spend
      the weekend with family in Beyrouth, Zahleh, wherever..
      And vice-versa.

      • MaImequer0

        Yes, when the whole area was colonized by British / French / Otto’s…. SO, you wish to trade our Independence with colonialism?

  • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

    Not according to the Palestinians. They’re rejecting any negotiation over Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and any limit to the amount of Palestinians who can move to Israel.

    • Rose Rohana

      Oh my God, another Zionist playing the Lebanese, ha ha…!
      There are too many here.. it’s an exageration.
      Why would the Palestinians accept that?
      You mean Apartheid must rule?

      • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

        Alan Hart has spent his whole career writing about this stuff. He is biased and so is his title. Also, Jews didn’t have equal rights with Muslims in the region before Zionism so I think you’re wrong. Lastly, whilst modern secular Zionism is newish, the principles behind it are part of our people and have always been so.

        • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

          Do you even know what apartheid is????? It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with any ‘right of return’. International law on the subject of refugees doesn’t include descendants of refugees. Furthermore, should all of the Muslims of the Balkans who left to Turkey be allowed to return? Should all of the Germans from Poland etc be allowed to move there???? I see you’re just prejudiced against Israelis.

          • man-o-war

            Why do descendants of Jews have a birth right to return to Israel? There are Jews that haven’t had a connection to Israel since their great great grandmother and they somehow still have a right to return. I have a friend who’s mother is a Greek Jew and has never been to Israel and has no family there and he still went on a birth right trip and is considering moving there. While descendants of Palestinian refugees have to give up the notion of ever returning, some still have family members living there.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Many countries have an ethnic law of return. Hungary and Germany are examples. However, most countries don’t allow decedents of people who lived in the area before independence and fled before independence, to move there just because their families lived there for a while.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Also, it is a form of affirmative action.

          • man-o-war

            You have explained why you think the Palestinians have no right to return. Now, why do these Jews with zero connection to Israel, no past family history in Israel, no living family in Israel have a right to go and live in illegally occupied West Bank settlements?

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Well I did say that many countries have the same law and I did say that it is a form of affirmative action. To elaborate a little, let me say this.

            Firstly, while as individuals we are not indigenous, the ethnic group to which we belong is the indigenous ethnic group of the land.

            Secondly, whilst as a percentage of world Jewry, the number moving to the land (prior to modern Zionism) was small, it was not small when relative to the size of the land’s population. It is true that many Jews came to die but this was in part due to the fact that the conditions imposed made it almost impossible to settle and bring up children for Jews. In fact, a number did continuously settle in the Galilee rural localities but their number would always be affected by the insecurity and inequality of the land. Hence my comment on affirmative action.

            I would also like you to note that the resettlement of an indigenous people in their homeland should not necessarily mean the displacement of those other people who lived there at the time but unfortunately, things do not always work out as intended by the majority of those involved.

            Thirdly, the Israelite population and proportion of Southern Bilad al Shams fluctuated considerably throughout the last 2000 years. It is not as if 2000 years ago the Israelite population immediately ceased to be a majority in any area of the land. To arrive at more recent times, from the 16th century until approximately 1840, Israelites were about half of the population of the Eastern Galilee. Indeed, this was an on/off majority. One could come one year and find it and a few years later find it had floundered, then come back 20 years later and find it again. This at least means that from a post WWI perspective on self determination, there is an argument for Jewish national rights in that area.

            Fourthly, from the same perspective, if we look at the former Yugoslavia, Macedonian Bulgarians were less than 7%, Slovenes less than 8%, Croats less than 20% and Muslims lived in various areas including parts of Bosnia but were the majority in some small areas only. All of those got a state including the Muslims who didn’t even form the majority within theirs. All of them allow ethnic reunification.

          • cook

            Arab logic: “My great uncle rented a flat in Jerusalem in 1946, therefore all of palestine is ours”

          • man-o-war

            Jewish logic? More like “my great uncle owned a flat in Jerusalem, therefore I have a connection to the land and deserve a right to live in Jerusalem.” What connection do the settlers have to the land? “I’m Jewish, therefore all of Palestine is ours” , whether you like to believe it or not Palestinians have a strong connection and deserve every right to come back and settle in their families villages.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            The Palestinian Arab connection to the land is very much a contrived, instrumental based nationalism with little to no primordial basis. There are individuals who lived for generations in the Balkans that moved to Anatolia who had strong connections. Their descendents however, found that they were perfectly comfortable living among people with whom they had a common religion and language, and to whom they owed their place in the former country. In this case, the Palestinian Arabs descendents would easily assimilate in Syria for example, were it not for their use as a political tool and their indoctrination with this instrumental ideology.

          • man-o-war

            “The Palestinian Arab connection to the land is very much a contrived”, more lies. You could say the same thing about English speaking Jews that have no living family in Israel and have lived for many generations in Manhattan. Why do they need to move to a settlement in the West Bank? It seems they have assimilated just fine in New York.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            “More lies”. Please elaborate, don’t just contradict. Furthermore, to say that Jews seem assimilated is your opinion. I could say the same about Palestinian Arabs in Syria. Why do they need to move to the West Bank? The area is our ancestral homeland and in particular Jerusalem and the West Bank. It shouldn’t matter what ethnicity those people are. If a new state is to be formed, they should be allowed to be citizens too.

          • man-o-war

            You did say that about Syria! In your opinion, they could “easily assimilate”.

            I have no problem with Jews wanting to live in the “ancestral homeland”. The problem is you want to deny the Palestinians from doing the same thing. Are we going to ignore the people who have lived there for hundreds and hundreds of years? If my grandparents lived in the West Bank and I live in NY, I would think I would have the right to go live on my grandfathers land. How come my connection to the land is somehow less than a Jew who’s only connection is its his “ancestral homeland”? What about my family roots that extend back hundreds of years?

            I think if they (settlers) want to remain where they are and become Palestinian citizens, fine. I also think that if my Palestinian grandson wants to move his family to the new state of Palestine to work the land his ancestors worked he should be allowed to as well.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            I have no problem with that either.

          • man-o-war

            The Zionist movement will not be satisfied until all the land is purged of Palestinians. They already gained a country. Still hungry for more? More indigenous Arabs to kick out?

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            The Arabs are not indigenous as a group. Also, the settlers for the most part, settle on empty land. The only exceptions are when there is a dispute on whether someone has sold their home or not in Hebron and in areas of Hebron that formerly belonged to Jews.

          • man-o-war

            “The Arabs are not indigenous as a group. Also, the settlers for the most part, settle on empty land.” , are you just making up history as you go along? How were the Arabs living in the Ottoman occupied area called Palestine not Indigenous? Also, the land was not empty. Hundreds of thousands of people is not empty.

            “Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem
            is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having fifty-two
            souls to the square mile, and not 25% of them Jews ….. We must be prepared
            either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our
            forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly
            Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to despise us.”

            -Israel Zangwill

  • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

    Not according to the Palestinians. They’re rejecting any negotiation over Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and any limit to the amount of Palestinians who can move to Israel.

    • Hind Abyad

      Oh my God, another Zionist playing the Lebanese, ha ha…!
      There too many here.. it’s an exageration.why would the Palestinians accept that?

      • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

        Alan Hart has spent his whole career writing about this stuff. He is biased and so is his title. Also, Jews didn’t have equal rights with Muslims in the region before Zionism so I think you’re wrong. Lastly, whilst modern secular Zionism is newish, the principles behind it are part of our people and have always been so.

        • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

          Do you even know what apartheid is????? It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with any ‘right of return’. International law on the subject of refugees doesn’t include descendants of refugees. Furthermore, should all of the Muslims of the Balkans who left to Turkey be allowed to return? Should all of the Germans from Poland etc be allowed to move there???? I see you’re just prejudiced against Israelis.

          • man-o-war

            Why do descendants of Jews have a birth right to return to Israel? There are Jews that haven’t had a connection to Israel since their great great grandmother and they somehow still have a right to return. I have a friend who’s mother is a Greek Jew and has never been to Israel and has no family there and he still went on a birth right trip and is considering moving there. While descendants of Palestinian refugees have to give up the notion of ever returning, some still have family members living there.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Many countries have an ethnic law of return. Hungary and Germany are examples. However, most countries don’t allow decedents of people who lived in the area before independence and fled before independence, to move there just because their families lived there for a while.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Also, it is a form of affirmative action.

          • man-o-war

            You have explained why you think the Palestinians have no right to return. Now, why do these Jews with zero connection to Israel, no past family history in Israel, no living family in Israel have a right to go and live in illegally occupied West Bank settlements?

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Well I did say that many countries have the same law and I did say that it is a form of affirmative action. To elaborate a little, let me say this.

            Firstly, while as individuals we are not indigenous, the ethnic group to which we belong is the indigenous ethnic group of the land.

            Secondly, whilst as a percentage of world Jewry, the number moving to the land (prior to modern Zionism) was small, it was not small when relative to the size of the land’s population. It is true that many Jews came to die but this was in part due to the fact that the conditions imposed made it almost impossible to settle and bring up children for Jews. In fact, a number did continuously settle in the Galilee rural localities but their number would always be affected by the insecurity and inequality of the land. Hence my comment on affirmative action.

            I would also like you to note that the resettlement of an indigenous people in their homeland should not necessarily mean the displacement of those other people who lived there at the time but unfortunately, things do not always work out as intended by the majority of those involved.

            Thirdly, the Israelite population and proportion of Southern Bilad al Shams fluctuated considerably throughout the last 2000 years. It is not as if 2000 years ago the Israelite population immediately ceased to be a majority in any area of the land. To arrive at more recent times, from the 16th century until approximately 1840, Israelites were about half of the population of the Eastern Galilee. Indeed, this was an on/off majority. One could come one year and find it and a few years later find it had floundered, then come back 20 years later and find it again. This at least means that from a post WWI perspective on self determination, there is an argument for Jewish national rights in that area.

            Fourthly, from the same perspective, if we look at the former Yugoslavia, Macedonian Bulgarians were less than 7%, Slovenes less than 8%, Croats less than 20% and Muslims lived in various areas including parts of Bosnia but were the majority in some small areas only. All of those got a state including the Muslims who didn’t even form the majority within theirs. All of them allow ethnic reunification.

          • Heraclitus

            Arab logic: “My great uncle rented a flat in Jerusalem in 1946, therefore all of palestine is ours”

          • man-o-war

            Jewish logic? More like “my great uncle owned a flat in Jerusalem, therefore I have a connection to the land and deserve a right to live in Jerusalem.” What connection do the settlers have to the land? “I’m Jewish, therefore all of Palestine is ours” , whether you like to believe it or not Palestinians have a strong connection and deserve every right to come back and settle in their families villages.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            The Palestinian Arab connection to the land is very much a contrived, instrumental based nationalism with little to no primordial basis. There are individuals who lived for generations in the Balkans that moved to Anatolia who had strong connections. Their descendents however, found that they were perfectly comfortable living among people with whom they had a common religion and language, and to whom they owed their place in the former country. In this case, the Palestinian Arabs descendents would easily assimilate in Syria for example, were it not for their use as a political tool and their indoctrination with this instrumental ideology.

          • man-o-war

            “The Palestinian Arab connection to the land is very much a contrived”, more lies. You could say the same thing about English speaking Jews that have no living family in Israel and have lived for many generations in Manhattan. Why do they need to move to a settlement in the West Bank? It seems they have assimilated just fine in New York.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            “More lies”. Please elaborate, don’t just contradict. Furthermore, to say that Jews seem assimilated is your opinion. I could say the same about Palestinian Arabs in Syria. Why do they need to move to the West Bank? The area is our ancestral homeland and in particular Jerusalem and the West Bank. It shouldn’t matter what ethnicity those people are. If a new state is to be formed, they should be allowed to be citizens too.

          • man-o-war

            You did say that about Syria! In your opinion, they could “easily assimilate”.

            I have no problem with Jews wanting to live in the “ancestral homeland”. The problem is you want to deny the Palestinians from doing the same thing. Are we going to ignore the people who have lived there for hundreds and hundreds of years? If my grandparents lived in the West Bank and I live in NY, I would think I would have the right to go live on my grandfathers land. How come my connection to the land is somehow less than a Jew who’s only connection is its his “ancestral homeland”? What about my family roots that extend back hundreds of years?

            I think if they (settlers) want to remain where they are and become Palestinian citizens, fine. I also think that if my Palestinian grandson wants to move his family to the new state of Palestine to work the land his ancestors worked he should be allowed to as well.

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            I have no problem with that either.

          • man-o-war

            The Zionist movement will not be satisfied until all the land is purged of Palestinians. They already gained a country. Still hungry for more? More indigenous Arabs to kick out?

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            The Arabs are not indigenous as a group. Also, the settlers for the most part, settle on empty land. The only exceptions are when there is a dispute on whether someone has sold their home or not in Hebron and in areas of Hebron that formerly belonged to Jews.

          • man-o-war

            “The Arabs are not indigenous as a group. Also, the settlers for the most part, settle on empty land.” , are you just making up history as you go along? How were the Arabs living in the Ottoman occupied area called Palestine not Indigenous? Also, the land was not empty. Hundreds of thousands of people is not empty.

            “Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem
            is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having fifty-two
            souls to the square mile, and not 25% of them Jews ….. We must be prepared
            either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our
            forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly
            Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to despise us.”

            -Israel Zangwill

  • Fauzia45

    Let s hope for peace and justice !!!!

  • Fauzia45

    Let s hope for peace and justice !!!!