Itongadol.- If U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry determines that Israelis and Palestinians are not serious about the peace process, he will abandon his efforts on the matter, a senior U.S. official told Reuters.
U.S. will drop peace process if Israelis, Palestinians aren´t serious, senior American official warns
In an article by Arshad Mohammed, the Reuters journalist responsible for covering the State Department in Washington; Mohammed cited those who called Kerry a "Lone Ranger" condemning the Middle East peace process, and that many involved call Kerry "naive."
Thesenior U.S. official disputed the notion that Kerry was naive and said the Obama administration was prepared to abandon the effort if it decides that the two sides are not genuine about pursuing peace.
"That\’s what shows he\’s not naive," said the official of Kerry\’s willingness to pull back if he does not see both sides as ready. "There\’s too many things going on in the world … You could bang your head on this for years and years and years."
Kerry\’s deadline for deciding whether there is any point in continuing diplomatic efforts to renew talks is nearing, while both sides are hardening their negotiating positions. Kerry expects answers from Jerusalem and Ramallah within two weeks.
Palestinian officials said Kerry has given them until June 7 to let the United States know whether they are serious about the possibility of reviving peace talks. While Kerry has not explicitly confirmed the deadline – and it could be extended – on May 24 he said "we\’re getting towards a time now where hard decisions need to be made."
Even before taking office, Kerry made no secret of his desire to try to solve the conflict. But he has acknowledged the deep skepticism, saying a week ago that "it is famously reputed to be diplomatic quicksand."
For all Kerry\’s efforts, questions linger about whether U.S. President Barack Obama has any real willingness to try a second time on Middle East peace, having promised to make it a priority at the start of his first term but failing to make any progress.
"It is a Lone-Ranger type of effort so far," said Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian foreign minister who is now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.
"The perception in the region is this is a process of buying time … that the White House is not serious about committing to what it takes to get this issue resolved," Muasher added.
"I don\’t think people are questioning Kerry\’s motives, everyone thinks he is serious about this – and he is serious about this – but he is just acting alone," he said. "There is not even a Tonto, it is just him doing it alone," he added, referring to Lone Ranger\’s fictional companion.
For now Kerry is continuing his efforts. Over the weekend he spoke twice on the telephone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and made it clear he expects a positive response on restarting peace negotiations. Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh, who met Sunday with Abbas in Ramallah, said at the end of the meeting that Kerry expects to return to the region "within days" for his fifth visit in two and a half months since he took office on February 1.
On Monday night Kerry will be the keynote speaker at the annual American Jewish Committee Global Forum in Washington and he will speak broadly about his efforts to restart the peace process. Kerry will meet today with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also attending the AJC conference.
Jordan\’s Judeh told Abbas at their meeting that Jordan supports renewing direct negotiations with Israel. He offered to hold talks between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in Amman under American and Jordanian auspices, similar to the talks that were held at the end of 2011.
For now, it seems that Abbas is not responding to American and Jordanian pressure. Abbas reiterated to Judeh that a freeze on settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners is the way to create an atmosphere that will allow for negotiations to restart.