Kerry-Abbas Visit Canceled as Mideast Talks Falter – Jodi Rudoren, Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler
(dailyalert.org, Apr. 2, 2014)
Israeli officials say they are not bound by their pledge to release a fourth batch of long-serving Palestinian prisoners by the end of March because no meaningful negotiations have taken place since November. A senior American official said Secretary of State Kerry’s decision not to return to the region immediately reflected a growing impatience in the White House, which believes that his mediating efforts have reached their limit and that the two sides need to work their way out of the current impasse.
Kerry has made the peace process a personal mission, with a dozen trips to the region in the past year, though few beyond Kerry and his team believed there was much chance of closing the gaps in the two sides’ positions. Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel, said: “All of the indications are that this is moribund. We’re now into Plan B, which has two parts: the blame game, which is well underway, and a last-ditch effort by the United States not to have the collapse lead to violence.” (New York Times)
See also Palestinian Bid for Stronger UN Ties Throws Peace Talks into Confusion – William Booth and Anne Gearan
PA President Mahmoud Abbas defied American diplomats Tuesday by unilaterally signing more than a dozen UN treaties, endangering the U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. It was clear that Abbas’ move blindsided the U.S., which was trying to broker a new deal for prisoner releases sought by the Palestinians and an extension of the peace talks.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The leaders on both sides have to make the decisions, not us. It’s up to them to decide what they are going to do with each other, for each other, for the future, for the region, for peace.” (Washington Post)