JERUSALEM, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that a final status peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach by April of 2014, Ha'aretz newspaper reported.
Israel would release more Palestinian prisoners in two weeks as planned, Kerry said. "We're not talking at this point about any shifts (in the scheduled deadline) and the next tranche of prisoners is due to be released on December 29 and it will take place then."
Kerry arrived in the region on Thursday in an attempt to salvage negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
On Friday morning Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Thursday he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in what was reported an effort to persuade Abbas to accept the U.S. security- arrangements plan presented to both sides in his last visit.
According to Palestinian officials, the plan includes having the Israeli military deployed throughout the Jordanian border on lands of the Palestinian state for ten years, something greatly objected to by Abbas.
Palestinian officials said that Israel insists on discussing security issues and does not move on to other topics including the future Palestinian state's borders and its sovereignty, to the Palestinians' ire. And the Palestinians fear that other topics that are of great importance for them would be pushed aside, including the status of Jerusalem, the Palestinian sovereignty and the question of the Palestinian refugees.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians began last July after a three-year halt in talks due to Israel's construction in the settlements.
Kerry lands once more in Israel to boost peace talks
JERUSALEM, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived on Thursday evening in Israel for another visit to the region to salvage negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy to Israel confirmed to Xinhua.
The storm which hit Israel and specifically Jerusalem altered Kerry's plans for the visit. Instead of meeting Israeli leaders on Thursday, Kerry will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday and Netanyahu and Peres on Friday. Full story
Abbas voices his reservations on Kerry's security plan
RAMALLAH, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry his reservations on the latter's security plan for a future solution with Israel, a Palestinian official said Thursday.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Abbas and Kerry met in the West Bank city of Ramallah as Kerry is back to the region for the second time this month in order to push for a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Full story
Palestinians to complete peace talks despite unfavorable U.S. advice
RAMALLAH, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian negotiators have decided to complete peace negotiations with Israel within the specified 9-month timeframe despite "unacceptable" recommendations offered by the U.S. to solve the dispute, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.
"The Palestinian leadership doesn't want to appear responsible for stopping the negotiations or to be blamed for thwarting the U. S. peace efforts," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media. Full story