Reported progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process stalled this afternoon after Palestinians announced a delay in their response to a peace initiative being pushed by Secretary of State John Kerry. Reports of a meeting between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and various Palestinian factions are not encouraging:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday failed to win the backing of PLO and Fatah leaders for resuming peace talks with Israel. Abbas convened the leaders in Ramallah to brief them on the outcome of his discussions with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jordan during the week… Palestinian officials described Thursday’s discussions in Ramallah as “stormy,” saying several PLO and Fatah officials voiced opposition to the resumption of the peace talks on the basis of Kerry’s ideas, which have yet to be made public.
A Palestinian official quoted by the Jerusalem Post bluntly asserted that until Israel accepts Palestinian preconditions, “there will be no return to the negotiations.”
The morning saw reports that Kerry would be able to announce renewed talks around his initiative on Friday. Those reports were promptly shot down by the State Department, and by the end of the day Foggy Bottom was explicitly denying that peace talks had been set to resume.
Israeli officials up to and including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have repeatedly called on Palestinian counterparts to return to the negotiating table and embrace Kerry’s efforts. The Palestinians have thus far refused, triggering bouts of open tension with the State Department.
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