Update, 2:53 PM: Abbas and Netanyahu will meet without preconditions. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will head to Washington next week to have preliminary discussions. Some are calling this talks about talks. Others are cautiously hopeful.
Despite all my hemming and hawing earlier, it’s being reported that Secretary of State John Kerry has scored the consent of the Palestinian leadership to resume peace negotiations with Israel. It was widely reported that Kerry–following his sixth trip to the region this year–planned to go home after Palestinian representatives rejected Kerry’s framework for peace talks because it did not satisfy their myriad preconditions. If the reports are true, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may begin meeting over the course of the next few months to discuss the thorny final status issues that have doomed past negotiations.
“Mr. President, you should look happy,” a cheerful-looking Kerry said to Abbas in front of reporters as they sat before the closed-door talks began.
According to reports, Kerry may head to Jerusalem next to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, although no official arrangements have been made as of yet, Walla reported.
We should expect that in the coming days, we’ll be hearing all the reasons why these talks will fail, especially among the allies and governing partners of both Abbas and Netanyahu. But for now, and despite the overwhelming skepticism about his mission, we should probably give Kerry some praise for reaching this threshold.