Israeli-Palestinian relations at 'pivotal moment,' Kerry says

US secretary of state releases statement after returning from Middle East visit.

November 25, 2015 19:09
1 minute read.
John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Foreign Ministry in Madrid, Spain, October 19, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON -- Israeli and the Palestinian leadership have reached a "pivotal moment" on their rocky path toward a two-state solution, now engulfed in a steady round of violence on the ground, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a written statement on Wednesday.

Back in Washington after visiting Jerusalem and Ramallah this week, having met with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry said both sides have "important decisions to make for the future" and stand at risk of losing control of tensions on the ground.

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"As you know we've been very concerned about the violence and the potential for the situation to spin out of control​," Kerry said in a statement to reporters. "Over these past months we have been encouraging all parties to take affirmative steps to reduce tensions and demonstrate a genuine commitment to a two-state solution.​"​

​"​I think we may be reaching a pivotal point now where both sides have important decisions to make for the future,​" he continued, ​​"​and we obviously hope they make the choices that will advance the prospects for lasting peace."

The Obama administration has twice tried and failed to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, once under Kerry’s direction in 2013. Those negotiations produced no tangible results.

The effort was followed shortly by the Gaza war of 2014 between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and in recent months, by a steady tempo of violence, including stabbings and vehicular attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians, and Palestinians killed in confrontations with Israeli soldiers.

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