Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kerry: Mideast peace still possible despite rifts

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted his Palestinian partner in peacemaking efforts Thursday, accusing him of embracing terrorists "as heroes," harsh words that clouded the start of Secretary of State John Kerry's tenth trip to the region to negotiate a peace deal he claims is "not mission impossible."

Kerry arrived in Israel to broker negotiations that are entering a difficult phase aimed at creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He had dinner with Netanyahu and planned to be in the West Bank today to talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry is asking both leaders to make tough, highly charged political decisions in hopes of narrowing differences on a framework that will outline a final peace pact.

Netanyahu greeted Kerry at the prime minister's office and after the initial small talk, took aim at Abbas. He claimed Abbas' homecoming for Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails earlier this week had led more Israelis to wonder if the Palestinians seriously want to find a way to end the decades-long dispute.

"I know that you're committed to peace," Netanyahu told Kerry. "I know that I'm committed to peace, but unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there's growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace."

Netanyahu was referring to events after Israel's release on Tuesday of more than two dozen Palestinian prisoners convicted in deadly attacks against Israelis. Netanyahu has faced political pressure from Israeli hard-liners for agreeing to release a total of 104 Palestinian prisoners as part of the U.S.-brokered package to restart the peace talks.

As with earlier releases, the Palestinian prisoners received a hero's welcome on their return to the West Bank and Gaza. But Abbas, a long-standing critic of violence who has pledged his commitment to a two-state solution, did not condone the prisoners' deeds.

Netanyahu, however, accused him of embracing terrorists "as heroes."

"This is not the way to achieve peace," Netanyahu said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Thursday to discuss Israel-Palestinian peace.

Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Thursday to discuss Israel-Palestinian peace.

Kerry: Mideast peace still possible despite rifts 01/02/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 2, 2014 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  2. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  3. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  4. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.