Much like President Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East last month, the White House played down a weekend visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Secretary of State John Kerry who talked with officials from both sides in what is dubbed a “quiet” effort on the part of the United States to revive the peace process.
Kerry spoke with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah as well as Israeli president Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Other than words that peace is desirable, possible and in the interest of all parties involved, nothing exciting was produced from all of Kerry’s meetings. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are, after all, widely divided on the core issues, let alone what a final settlement should look like. And despite talk of wanting to move the peace process forward, the mistrust between Jerusalem and Ramallah is at such a height that ordinary Palestinians are no longer sure that a two-state solution is possible anymore.
Yet with John Kerry, the United States have an intensely focused diplomat with decades of experience in containing conflicts and finding ways to resolve them. Those who know the former Democratic senator well acknowledge that he has long taken a special interest in solving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Kerry’s three trips to the Middle East in under a month is a testament to that desire and while recent diplomacy is certainly not on par with the Henry Kissinger and James Baker tours of previous decades, it is a strong signal that the Obama Administration wants to be more proactive than less. Read more “Kerry Could Revive 2002 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan”