John Kerry warns of violence if Israel-Palestinian peace talks fail
Amman – US Secretary of State John Kerry warned today of a return to violence if faltering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ultimately fail. He also rejected suggestions that he scale back his ambition to forge a final settlement with an interim agreement and said he still believed it could be done by an April 2014 target date.
Kerry has been shuffling this week between Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan in a frantic bid to get the peace negotiations back on track amid rising public anger among Palestinians over Israeli settlement activity and among Israelis over the release of Palestinian prisoners.
“What is the alternative to peace?” Kerry asked at a joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
“Prolonged continued conflict. The absence of peace really means you have a sort of low-grade conflict, war.”
“As long as the aspirations of people are held down one way or another … As long as there is this conflict and if the conflict frustrates once again so that people cannot find a solution, the possibilities of violence” increase, he said.
Kerry appealed for Israelis and Palestinians to take the peace process seriously and for their leaders to overcome differences that have hamstrung the talks since they began three months ago with the goal of reaching a deal by the end of April, 2014.