US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Israel in his latest bid to re-energise the Middle East peace process.
The visit, Kerry’s tenth to the region in less than a year, seeks to secure a so called ‘framework agreement’ aimed, eventually, at finding a two state solution and an independent Palestinian state.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Kerry called for common ground from both sides.
“The time is soon arriving where leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions. We are close to that time, if not at it, and I think we understand the circumstances within which we are working,” Kerry said
After meeting with Netanyahu, Kerry is due to travel to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Earlier on Thursday, around 100 Palestinian protesters demonstrated against Kerry’s visit calling for an end to talks with Israel. .
Saleh Zedan, Leader of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said: “We are marching to ask the Palestinian negotiator to withdraw immediately from these talks, to stop being exploited by the Israeli enemy which is covering up the increase in Jewish settlements.’‘
Last month, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said a deal on a framework agreement could allow talks to continue for another year.
But, earlier this week, he said the US’ peace efforts were ‘failing’ and threatened to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court.