U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has left Israel without speaking to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and after two intense meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in less than 12 hours.
Kerry met in Jerusalem with Netanyahu for several hours on Monday evening and then again for another two hours on Tuesday morning before leaving to attend scheduled NATO ministerial meetings in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Although there was a possibility that Kerry might have gone to Ramallah for a quick meeting with Abbas late Monday night, he chose not to do so. It is believed he will return to Israel in the coming days, possibly to meet with Abbas at that time instead.
Abbas, meanwhile, chaired his own meeting Monday night with top officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA’s leading Fatah faction.
Officials decided to again appeal to United Nations agencies for recognition of the PA as an independent sovereign nation if Kerry does not force Israel to free a final group of 30 terrorist prisoners, according to the PA official who spoke with reporters.
Rumors that long-incarcerated Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard might be freed from a U.S. prison as a way to keep the talks going again were raised, but there has been no confirmation by an official source, U.S. or Israeli, that the report was true.
Likewise, an alleged proposal from Israel last Friday offering to free an additional 400 PA terrorist prisoners in exchange for the PA continuing the talks until the end of 2014, and refraining from its appeal to the United Nations, has not been confirmed.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney has told reporters he has “no update” on the status of Jonathan Pollard, and Israeli government officials are tight-lipped about the latest developments under discussion with the PA.Hana Levi Julian
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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