CMEP Bulletin: Silence after Kerry-Netanyahu meeting
Details remain scarce on the status of the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for seven hours in Rome. Four of those hours were private, with only Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu in the room. Reports before the meeting indicated “most of the meeting will be devoted to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with Kerry seeking clear answers from Netanyahu on what compromises he is willing to make to obtain a final status agreement.” There were signs that the focus was more on Iran but little was revealed after the meeting.
The previous day, Secretary Kerry told members of the Arab League, “The two parties have been engaged now in 13 meetings – serious meetings. They had three meetings in the last four days,” Kerry said. “All the core issues are on the table. And they have been meeting with increased intensity.”
Next week, the next phase of the prisoner release that helped bring these negotiations to life should take place. Already, Haaretz reports that Israel’s Housing Ministry intends on publishing tenders on hundreds of settlement units at the same time as the release of 25 prisoners in an “attempt to appease the right wing.” The prime minister is walking a thin line in his mostly right-wing coalition. Many oppose a negotiated two-state solution and these settlement announcements could allay their fears and keep them from bolting the coalition for now while negotiations continue.