"They have now laid out a set of projects, and we are working with Israel and with the Palestinians together in order to identify projects that could rapidly be invested in, rapidly be approved, that will have a direct impact on unemployment. Our hope is that, over the span of about three years, you could actually reduce the unemployment rate from 21 percent to 8 percent, that you could double the GDP of all of the Palestinian territory. And this initiative is not just for the West Bank; it's also for Gaza. And our hope is -- in the days ahead, our hope is to be able to have specific announcements about those projects and about these initiatives in order for people to see concrete, tangible ways in which their lives could change and in which a peace process could, in fact, attract investment and have a way of having an impact on life in Jordan and Israel as well."
And while declining to talk about political discussions, Kerry addressed the "security track."
"On the security track, everybody knows that one of the greatest challenges to peace has always been the perception in Israel of the threat to Israel, and Israel's security is paramount. It's paramount to Israelis, obviously. It's existential to any leader of Israel and to the Israeli people. But it's also important to America, which supports Israel, and important to the allies and friends of Israel. And it is important, in fact, to the region -- important to Jordan, important to the Palestinians -- that there be security for the region.
"One of the things that is mentioned prominently in the Arab Peace Initiative is a regional security concept. The Arab community is prepared to commit to a regional security framework, which has yet to be defined. So security is a very important component of any peace process. You must provide for the security of the Palestinians, the security of the Jordanians, the security of the region, and particularly, obviously, Israel will not sign a peace agreement if it does not feel that it will be secure."- Advertisement -
The Wall Street Journal report on terms of negotiations two days ago indicates that talks could not begin till the Israelis gave in on the "principle" of '67 with landswaps, and on a settlement freeze:
"The senior Palestinian official said the leaders would ask Mr. Kerry for three guarantees: a pledge that Israel will freeze building in Jewish settlements while peace talks are continuing; a pledge that Israel's 1967 borders will form the basis of negotiations, with agreed-upon land swaps to allow for Israel to retain its largest settlement blocs as part of Israel in a final peace deal; and a time limit on negotiations to prevent Israel from dragging them out indefinitely as Palestinians have accused Israel of doing in the past.
"Mr. Kerry has given Mr. Abbas oral guarantees that address the Palestinian concerns, but the Palestinian leadership wants Mr. Kerry to make those guarantees publicly or in writing, according to Amin Maqbul, a Fatah Party leader. ...- Advertisement -
"A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the deliberations in Ramallah or on Mr. Kerry's proposal to restart peace talks. The spokesman, Mark Regev, did say that Israel hasn't accepted the principle of 1967 borders with land swaps as a basis for negotiations. That principle has formed the backbone of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since the early 1990s.
"The Israeli refusal to accept it appeared to have been a main factor in the Palestinians' decision. As the Palestinian leadership was meeting on Thursday afternoon, reports circulated that Mr. Netanyahu had agreed to accept 1967 borders with swaps as a basis to start talks. Mr. Netanyahu's office issued a prompt denial."
The Onion, from three days ago: "Man Who Couldn't Defeat George W. Bush Attempting To Resolve Israel-Palestine Conflict":
"Arriving in the Middle East today for top-level negotiations with Palestinian and Israeli officials, a man who could not even devise a way to beat George W. Bush in a head-to-head vote will spend the next several days attempting to bring a peaceful resolution to the most intractable global conflict of the modern era, State Department sources confirmed."