John FN Kerry planning to visit Jerusalem and RamallahKerry plans to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah to try to get the Middle East 'peace process' going. The fact that Israel is unlikely to have a government in power by then is of no concern (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News).
Quoting senior Israeli officials, the left-leaning Haaretz said Kerry was interested in visiting as soon as possible, even before a new Israeli government is appointed following Tuesday's general election.I wonder if anything could happen here that the Obama administration would not regard as 'an opportunity for significant progress in reviving talks.'
They said Kerry, who has not yet formed a peace plan, wants to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
No date has been set for the visit, but it would happen in February as part of a wider regional tour.
A spokesman for Netanyahu's office said he was unaware of any such plans, and the foreign ministry said it had not been approached by the US embassy with such a request.
Following this week's election, which saw Netanyahu re-elected by a narrow margin and the centrist Yesh Atid party soar to second place, Kerry saw an opportunity for significant progress in reviving talks, Haaretz said.
Yesh Atid backs a renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians.
But there's a little bit of good news in this one.
"President Obama does not intend to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian issue personally, and will give Kerry full authority, independence and support on the matter," the official said.At this point I'd be thrilled if they'd just leave us alone for the next four years. Nothing this administration wants to do is in our favor.
"If Kerry thinks there is a chance for progress in the peace process he will invest personal effort in it and will come to the region frequently.
"But if he sees after a few visits that there is no will from the parties to progress, he will go and deal with other issues such as Africa or relations with China and Russia." Kerry on Thursday hinted at having a plan for rekindling peace talks, but warned the door for a "two-state solution" could be closing. He said he had "a lot of thoughts" about how to maybe kick-start talks, but refused to say more.