U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that Palestinians and Israelis could be headed back to the negotiating table as early as next week.

The details remain mostly unknown, with Kerry insisting that secrecy is necessary to protect the delicate agreement. Since starting his new job as America’s top diplomat, Kerry has made multiple trips to the Middle East, hoping to make this sort of announcement, but it hasn’t been easy.

Palestinians have long maintained that there can be no negotiations while there is construction of Israeli settlements on occupied land. When Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative government announced new construction, the Palestinians sought recognition in the United Nations.

Netanyahu’s government has since reformed to represent a broader political coalition, and former adversary Tzipi Livni will serve as Israel’s chief negotiator.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, has not agreed to new negotiations. The agreement appears to have been reached with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah controls the West Bank.

Source: BBC

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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