Every US secretary of state has to try, right? John Kerry says Israel and the Palestinians will meet soon in Washington to finalize an agreement on relaunching peace negotiations for the first time in five years. Kerry told reporters that he and the two sides "reached an agreement that establishes a basis for direct final status negotiations," but he added that it is "still in the process of being formalized." Assuming all goes well, talks could get underway next week.
The development comes a day after the Palestinian leadership balked at dropping a main condition for talks. They have long wanted a guarantee that negotiations on borders between a Palestinian state and Israel would be based on the cease-fire line that held from 1949 until the 1967 war, when Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem. Israel has long balked at any such preconditions. Today's announcement suggested that the question had been resolved, but Kerry said no details of the agreement would be revealed yet.