Kerry Believes Israel-PA Talks Can Restart

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he believes peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) can be re-launched, AFP reports.

The comments came a day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared he was ready to resume direct talks with the Palestinians.

"I believe there is a chance and I think it is imperative we have not lost sight of that issue," Kerry said Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC.

Noting Netanyahu's comments in a meeting with a group of women from the Women Wage Peace activist group, Kerry voiced hope that there will be a way forward, but added, "Let's wait and see what happens. I think we have to get through the next weeks before we start talking about the rest of the agenda."

Through Kerry's efforts, the sides resumed direct talks in July 2013, but they broke down in April 2014.

France has recently sought to bring the sides back to the negotiating table, saying it was working on a possible resolution at the UN that would set negotiating parameters and establish a time period, possibly 18 months, to complete talks.

Minister Silvan Shalom, who was appointed by Netanyahu to be in charge of peace talks, recently called for the resumption of peace talks, but also noted that “it takes two to tango” and that the PA needs to also show willingness to resume talks.

“We need to resume the negotiations with the Palestinians, even though we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said at a conference of the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, adding that Israel has publicly announced that it wants to resume the negotiations immediately but that "desire from both sides" is required to do so.

While international pressure has been mounting on Israel to resume talks, it has been PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas who has continuously imposed preconditions on peace talks. He recently did so again, demanding that Israel stop construction in Judea and Samaria, release terrorist prisoners and hold talks for a period of no more than a year.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200241

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