Churches in the United States are welcoming the news that Secretary John Kerry may have succeeded in his efforts to resume direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) report that this evening (Friday 19 July 2013) during his sixth visit to the region in four months, Kerry told reporters in Jordan: "We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis… The agreement is still in the process of being formalized."
Next week, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will travel to Washington, DC to hold preliminary talks and hammer out the details for negotiations. His message to reporters was brief and did not mention what the basis of the talks will be.
On Thursday, President Obama spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and encouraged him to continue to work with Kerry to resume negotiations. On Friday Kerry made the surprise decision to go to Ramallah to personally meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas despite two meetings Kerry already had in Amman with Erekat earlier in the day. It appears this pressure has worked.
As this historic opportunity plays out, the CMEP Facebook page will be sending out another bulletin on Monday with more information and analysis; See: www.facebook.com/churchesmep