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Middle East Peace Process

Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al Attiyeh, left, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, sit alongside each other prior to a meeting with the Arab League in Paris, Monday Oct. 21, 2013. Kerry is in Paris for diplomatic talks about a peace process for Israel and Palestinian authorities. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

“The Arab League’s support for a final status agreement is critical.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently met with Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Atiyah to update the Arab League Follow-on Committee on the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Middle East Peace Process
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“The Arab League’s support for a final status agreement,” said Mr. Kerry, “is critical to creating the momentum and the seriousness of purpose for these talks to be successful.”

The peace process remains challenging. “But I want to underscore,” said Secretary Kerry, “that the goal is clear and it is achievable; and those who are closest to it - the neighbors as well as the parties themselves – understand what is at stake; a just and a lasting peace that’s based on a two-state solution which is the only solution. Two states for a simple reason, because two proud people deserve the opportunity to realize their legitimate aspirations, their security, and their freedom, and their future.”

Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have taken substantial risks to bring their parties to the table. The two sides have met some 13 times now and are discussing all of the core issues.

To complement the political track of negotiations, the U.S. and the international community have begun working with the parties to take steps to improve the economic situations on the ground, particularly in the Palestinian territories. The Israeli government has announced a number of steps to improve the economic situation in Gaza and the West Bank, including 5,000 worker permits of Palestinians to work in Israel and additional quantities of water for the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear in a recent statement that Israel is also committed to maintaining the status quo in the holy places, and that the hand of Israel is extended to the Palestinian people in the hope of peace.

“There is an opportunity for peace over the horizon,” said Secretary Kerry. “But to seize it we need the engagement of the Arab League, and we need the rest of the international community also to continue to be supportive. I believe that with our work together, we can provide for the peaceful, prosperous, hopeful outcome that people in the region, and particularly Israelis and Palestinians have hoped for a long time.”