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Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
PM Netnanyahu
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
US Secretary of State Kerry
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

Netanyahu, Kerry meet in Jerusalem

US secretary of state, prime minister discuss possible renewal of Israel-PA peace talk, prompting concern among Likud members that Netanyahu might be shifting to center

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Thursday, in an attempt to discuss a renewal of the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

Kerry arrived at the Middle East for a round of talks and is to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend.

 

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A political source told Ynet Thursday that according to intelligence information, Abbas has no real intention of "promoting talks. He's willing to sit down with Netanyahu, but doesn’t intend to go forward with the talks.


נתניהו וקרי בפגישתם בירושלים (צילום: משה מילנר, לע"מ)

Kerry, Netanyahu (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)

 

"He wants to talk, and then reintroduce Palestinian demands," the source added. "They want to pursue the unilateral track with the UN, with no intention of making any hard or concrete decisions."

 

Netanyahu reiterated his stand regarding the danger that a bi-national state poses, a statement that led the political echelon to wonder whether the prime minister is about to stir up a political crisis in his party, as he shifts to a more centralist stand.

 

A minister told Ynet that Netanyahu was currently making tactical moves. "He understands that he has an opportunity to position himself in the center. It would not be harmful, and with what is happening in the Likud , this is also a good opportunity to show Americans that he is serious about his intentions in the policy. It is not connected to the Likud, it's about Netanyahu – he is looking for an agenda and he doesn’t have a problem to shift to the center."

 

However, within the Likud, there are those who say that at this point, there is no reason to bring about internal conflict within the party, since "there are no real decisions on the agenda. Everything at the moment is talk. Everyone takes advantage of this period to produce an agenda. Netanyahu has nothing to lose in going against the party’s right, because there no real decisions on the agenda."

 

Earlier Thursday, Kerry met Jordan's King Abdullah for talks focused on both the peace process and the Syrian civil war, which has driven more than 500,000 refugees into Jordan.

 

September Target

Kerry has revealed few details of his strategy to bring the sides together. But he has said he wants to show progress before September, when the UN General Assembly, which has already granted de facto recognition to a Palestinian state, resumes its debate over the Middle East.

 

Netanyahu is concerned that the Palestinians, in the absence of peace talks, could use the UN session as a springboard for further statehood moves that circumvent Israel.

 

By playing his cards close to his chest, Kerry wants to avoid building expectations over a process that has broken down many times before. Talks are currently focused on finding common ground from which to launch negotiations.

 

The broader issues, however, are essentially still the same: the borders of a future Palestine, the fate of Palestinian prisoners and refugees, Israeli security and Jerusalem's status.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

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פרסום ראשון: 06.28.13, 00:45
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