US Secretary of State John Kerry says the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israelis will reopen negotiations “within the next two weeks.”
Kerry made the remarks at a joint press conference along with the Palestinian and Israeli chief negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni, at the Department of State in Washington, DC after the two-day US-brokered talks ended on Tuesday.
He stated that the two sides would meet in “either Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal negotiation.”
“I am pleased to report that, in the conversations we have had last night and again today, we have had constructive and positive meetings; both meetings with the United States present and also meetings with the parties by themselves. The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous, and substantive negotiations on the core issues,” Kerry said.
The US secretary of state also hailed acting PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for sending the negotiators to Washington.
However, many Palestinians believe the talks are doomed to failure because the Israeli regime and Washington are pushing for the Palestinians to unconditionally surrender.
Last Palestinian-Israeli talks broke down in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.