Kerry blames stalled peace talks on new Israeli settlements

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israeli settlements west bank mapIsrael’s approval of controversial new settlements scuppered an opportunity for progress in U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

The Israeli government announced a major expansion of settlement construction in the West Bank last month, just as Washington was scrambling for a way to get the two sides to extend peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline.

While Kerry blamed intransigence on both sides, he told U.S. lawmakers that a delayed Israeli plan to release several Palestinian prisoners as part of a good faith effort was sabotaged by the settlements move.

“In the afternoon, when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem and, poof, that was sort of the moment,” he said.

“We find ourselves where we are,” added Kerry, who has met repeatedly with both sides.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have teetered on the brink of collapse, with Washington fighting an uphill battle to get the two sides to agree to a framework proposal to extend the negotiations to the year’s end.

A Palestinian spokesman last month blamed the impasse on Israel’s West Bank settlement plans.

Kerry, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was drawn into a heated exchange with Senator John McCain, who declared the peace talks “finished.”

While Kerry insisted that Israelis and Palestinians were keen on continuing the process, McCain cut in: “It is stopped,” he told Kerry. “Recognize reality.”

Kerry refused to see it that way.

“My hope is the parties will find a way back. We’re working with them to try to do so,” Kerry said.

He stressed there has been “a narrowing of differences” between the two sides, although he would not elaborate.

Meanwhile, the two sides met U.S. envoy Martin Indyk late on Monday and are to meet him again on Wednesday, a Palestinian source said.

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9 responses to “Kerry blames stalled peace talks on new Israeli settlements”

  1. cook2half Avatar
    cook2half

    Oh yeah, so with the agreement of settlement construction and the agreement of not going to the UN, its Israel that broke the talks

    1. don’t you know it’s always israel ?lol
      when the propaganda machine works . the weak of mind follow and delutional Kerry is one of the weakest.
      US lost eygpt, saudi arabia, iraq and now they lose israel…a briliant work of a brilliant administration 🙂
      and on the more serious side ..we know he is biased so F off till the moment you find the courage to be impartial

      1. cook2half Avatar
        cook2half

        And it wasnt even West Bank settlements, it was east Jerusalem “settlements”. For some reason the earth will be destroyed if the PA doesnt have “east Jerusalem” as its capital.

        1. Q: how do you know you are right about something?
          A: John Karry is against you
          lol

          they will not…by leaving the negotiatios, throwing the blame at us and refusing to back off of ther ridiculous pre-negotiation demands, they effectively ended any possible agreement.
          bye bye, have fun playing state at the UN…we’re done with you haleluya :)))

          1. cook2half Avatar
            cook2half

            “Netanyahu instructs government ministries to cease cooperation with Palestinians”

            http://www.jpost.COM/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Netanyahu-instructs-government-
            ministries-to-cease-cooperation-with-Palestinians-347977

          2. i support that 100%.
            our dear palis need to learn they can’t hold the stick on both ends.no cooperation equals no cooperation.
            i personnaly await the day israel will grow some balls and disconnect the free loaders from the power grid.
            we supply electricity for years without getting paid for it-billions of shekels that come out of my pocket that are used to pay for their usage.

      2. cook2half Avatar
        cook2half

        And it wasnt even West Bank settlements, it was east Jerusalem “settlements”. For some reason the earth will be destroyed if the PA doesnt have “east Jerusalem” as its capital.

  2. cook2half Avatar
    cook2half

    Oh yeah, so with the agreement of settlement construction and the agreement of not going to the UN, its Israel that broke the talks

  3. 5thDrawer Avatar
    5thDrawer

    I think McCain has had enough of discussing ‘forever wars’ in little tin-pot countries.
    Either that, or he’s against Kerry getting any more holidays. :-)))
    What, indeed, are “a narrowing of differences” ?? Do they now agree that Falafels were invented in Egypt?? FINALLY ??

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