John Kerry scored an important endorsement on Wednesday with the Arab League saying his “great efforts” for Israel-Palestine peace offers a “suitable environment” to restart talks.
The US Secretary of State began his sixth Middle East trip in six months on Monday and has met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League officials.
Quoting the Petra news agency in Jordan, Reuters said the Arab League confirmed “its support for Kerry’s great efforts to revive peace talks ... and pointed out that the ideas put forward by Kerry before the committee provide the ground and a suitable environment to start negotiations, especially in new and important political, economic and security issues.”
The New York Times called it a “significant boost” for Kerry’s plans to settle territorial disputes between the two sides.
It could signal a return to formal negotiations, The Times said.
Preventing negotiations is Israel’s construction in the West Bank, with Abbas refusing to meet until it stops and Israel insisting meetings are held unconditionally, the Associated Press reported.
Kerry has tried to bring the two sides closer with a comprehensive economic plan for Palestine and incentives for Israel.
In a joint news conference with Arab League delegates, Kerry said they’ve been able to “narrow these gaps very significantly,” Reuters reported.
The efforts hinge on Israel re-examining lands occupied since the 1967 Middle East War and terms of a 2002 Arab League peace initiative.
“Israel needs to look hard at this initiative, which promises Israel peace with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations – a total of 57 nations that are standing and waiting for the possibility of making peace with Israel,” Kerry told reporters, according to Reuters.
The 2002 agreement called on Israel to give up land it has occupied since 1967 and establishing a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.
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