Palestinian Affairs

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Reports: “Kerry Believes the Problem Now Lies” With Palestinian Leadership

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Jordanian capital on Wednesday in a bid to get Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League on board for peace talks with Israel.

Kerry was originally scheduled to visit Israel on this, his sixth trip to the region since taking office in February. But according to the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, that visit was canceled because he did not want to come to Jerusalem empty-handed.

“Kerry believes the problem now lies not with Netanyahu, who has agreed to his requests, but with Abbas,” the paper’s Washington correspondent Orly Azulai reported in its print edition. “That’s why he intends to apply serious pressure on the Palestinians, and has even threatened to reduce U.S. aid to them unless they forgo their preconditions for talks.”

Abbas and his negotiating team have rejected Israeli calls for negotiations without preconditions and have set a number of conditions on returning to talks. The Palestinian position had already triggered open tension with the State Department.

Yedioth predicted that during his stay in Jordan, Kerry may announce an upcoming four-way summit including the U.S., Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. That summit – which had originally been rumored to take place in Amman – is now said to be planned for Washington.

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