BREAKING: Direct Peace Talks to Resume

After months of intense shuttle diplomacy, Secretary of State Kerry has scored a diplomatic breakthrough. For the first time in three years, it appears that Israelis and Palestinians are going to engage in direct peace negotiations.

Sec. Kerry’s announcement, delivered in Amman, comes on the heels of a last-minute meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Yesterday, members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization appeared hesitant to enter direct negotiations without a written commitment from Israel confirming that negotiations would be based on the 1967 borders. In return, the Palestinians will recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.

Peace talks based on the 1967 borders have been criticized by members of the Israeli right, as members of Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party and Likud argue that the status of Jerusalem should not be subject to negotiations. With news of peace talks, Bennett, who serves as Israel’s Finance Minister, threatened to break up Israel’s governing coalition should Prime Minister Netanyahu agree to talks based on the 1967 lines.

In an attempt to revive the chance of talks, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu to encourage Israel to return to the negotiating table.

Despite such hesitation on both sides, the restart of direct negotiations signals that Sec. Kerry believes that the parties are indeed close enough to merit peace talks. As an American Jewish community that has long called for the United States to play a role in the resumption of peace talks, we welcome Sec. Kerry’s tremendous efforts and work to ensure the realization of progress.

These, of course, are just my first reactions to the announcement. Stay tuned for the official statement from the Reform Movement welcoming the resumption of talks.

Image courtesy of Mandel Ngan, AP

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Mikey Pasek

About Mikey Pasek

Mikey Pasek is an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. He is from Philadelphia, PA, and is a graduate of Bates College. Follow Mikey on twitter @mikeypasek and on the web at

2 Responses to “BREAKING: Direct Peace Talks to Resume”

  1. The obvious reaction is to see this as good news. But is it really? Neither party has much appetite or desire for it and neither has the option to not participate.
    After 5 US Secretaries of State have attempted and failed to revive talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the real question we have to ask is: What’s different this time (aside from new people in the same roles as in the past) that would motivate the players to buy into the process?
    Until the parties themselves see as part of a mutually beneficial outcome, nothing is going to happen. Sorry, I don’t see why the results this time should any different from any of the previous 5 times.


  1. Reform Movement Encouraged Peace Talks to Resume; Commends Secretary Kerry’s Personal Involvement | Fresh Updates from RAC - July 23, 2013

    […] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced last week that Israel and the Palestinian Authority agr…. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, reacted warmly to the news, explaining: […]

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