John Kerry the U.S. Secretary of State will present the Palestinians and Israel with a broad outline of what the peace agreement for the Middle East could look like. Kerry will travel this week to the region said a spokesperson from the State Department.
Marie Harf, the deputy spokeswoman for the State Department said on Monday that Kerry would discuss Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister and Mahmoud Abbas the Palestinian President, the proposed peace agreement framework that would serve as a guide for addressing the outstanding issues in the ongoing decades long dispute between the two.
The central issues include the Israeli and future Palestine borders, security arrangements, the Palestinian refugees’ fate and the conflicting claims to Jerusalem, the holy city.
Both sides returned to the negotiating table in July under Kerry’s heavy pressure. As one of its preconditions, the Palestinians had to drop their demand for the halt of building new Jewish settlements.
Israel in exchange agreed it would release 104 Palestinian prisoners who have been held for a number of years.
Kerry will depart Washington on January 1 to visit both the Palestinian territories and Israel. The Secretary of State has invested a great deal of time in conducting the negotiations in the hope of reaching a deal over the next nine months.
The original target date for the agreement expires on April 30. While that date is not a deadline that would end talks, there has been very little sign of any progress to date.
Kerry hoped to be able to narrow the gaps between the two parties but it is unclear if he can reach an agreement with the two parties on his framework for the plan on this trip.
Kerry’s trip is coinciding with the third release of four of the Palestinian prisoners from detention in Israel. Israel announced the 26 names of the prisoners to be let free this week. Each of them has served from 19 to 28 years.
Hard liners in Israel have typically opposed the release of prisoners. As with previous prisoner releases, the government will announce the construction of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.