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.
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