WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday the Arab League's acknowledgment that Israelis and Palestinians may have to swap land in any peace deal was "a very big step forward."
Arab states appeared to soften their 2002 peace plan on Monday when Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, said the two sides could trade land rather than conform exactly to their 1967 borders.
His comment, made on behalf of an Arab League delegation, amounted to a concession to Israel. While it has been assumed for at least a decade that land swaps would be part of any peace deal, the Arab League had never explicitly embraced the idea.
"That is a very big step forward," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with Spain's foreign minister. "We're going to continue to march forward and try to bring people to the table despite the difficulties and the disappointments of the past."