Following Secretary Kerry’s speech on a vision for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the two respective leaders respond. President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas says agreement is possible while the Israeli Prime Minister expresses disappointment with the Secretary of State.

PA President Abbas with John Kerry

PA President Abbas with John Kerry Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Shortly after Secretary Kerry’s speech this evening (Wednesday) in which he discussed the US’s basic principles for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Israeli Prime Minister’s reaction, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said “reaching a peace agreement is possible.”

Abbas’ spokesman said that “all the core issues can be agreed upon to reach a just peace.” Even beforehand, Abbas clarified that he would be willing to reopen peace talks if settlement construction stopped.

As previously reported by JOL, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement to the media following the speech delivered by Secretary Kerry. “Kerry’s speech was a big disappointment,” said Netanyahu. “It deals obsessively with Israeli settlements, instead of dealing with the root of the conflict – the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state within any border.”

Netanyahu, this evening

Netanyahu, this evening Photo Credit: Government Press Office/Channel 2 News

Israel’s position, that the Americans and Palestinians colluded before the vote on settlements, was reinforced last night after an Egyptian newspaper reported that two weeks ago there was a meeting in Washington between US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and a Palestinian delegation headed by Saeb Erekat.

According to the publication, Kerry and Rice told the Palestinians that they are willing to cooperate with the Security Council draft resolution. At that meeting they criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu and accused him of damaging the two-state solution.

This evening Kerry introduced “Washington’s vision for peace” in the region as the focus of his farewell speech before he leaves office in a few short weeks. In his address, Kerry referred to the political deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in addition to the ways in which the current administration believes peace can be achieved. Kerry also defended the US decision to abstain and not veto the resolution at the UN Security Council last week. Kerry addressed these allegations made by Israel that the US “orchestrating” the resolution vote, saying that they “strongly reject the notion that somehow the United States was behind this resolution.”

Likely in reference to Netanyahu saying that “Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” Kerry said,“Friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect.”