BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will meet in Washington next week to look into details of resuming the stalled peace process.
Analysts say although the United States has played a positive role on reviving the talks, it still will not be easy to smoothly proceed with the negotiations due to complicated historical and political matters.
TWISTS AND TURNS
Despite making a major breakthrough, Kerry's sixth trip to the Middle East was full of drama.
After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and Wednesday, Kerry said the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians were greatly narrowed, while dovish Israeli President Shimon Peres signaled that a resumption of peace talks was just around the corner.
However, as Palestinian leaders gathered to discuss a possible resumption of the talks on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman denied reports that Israel had agreed to resume peace talks at Kerry's suggestion.
U.S. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu soon afterwards and "encouraged" him to work with Kerry on reviving negotiations with the Palestinians, successfully saving the situation from a possible break-up.
ACTIVE U.S. MEDIATION
Analysts believe that the active involvement of the U.S. was one of the major elements that contributed to initial approval of the talks by the two sides.
Kerry has made six visits to the Middle East since he took office half a year ago. He has been busy mediating with the Palestinians and Israelis to promote the resumption of peace talks that stopped in October 2010 after Israel insisted on continuing the construction of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Analysts say Kerry's efforts at breaking the deadlock between the Palestinians and Israel were made because he personally has a strong interest in the issue and has built close relationships with the leaders on both sides when he was a U.S. senator.
On the other hand, the mediation of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks was firmly supported by Obama as one of the primary goals of his second term, analysts say.
However, it is still too early to say the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will be successfully resumed. Even Kerry himself admitted that the related parties still face challenges ahead and have to make some "tough choices."
Consensus has not yet been reached among the Israeli power-holders. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of the ultra-nationalist HaBayit HaYehudi party, a key coalition partner, on Thursday threatened to pull his party out of the coalition government if Israel accepts the principle of a two-state solution based on the 1967 Mideast war borders.
In the meantime, polls also showed that a majority of the Palestinian and Israeli people were not optimistic about a peaceful future between the two sides.
About 68 percent of the Israelis and 69 percent of the Palestinians believed that an independent Palestinian state is unlikely to be established in five years based on prior diplomatic failures.