With Mideast peace talks on the verge of collapse, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared Friday that “it’s reality check time” on whether an agreement can be reached anytime soon after decades of bitterness between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The U.S. will re-evaluate its role as mediator, he said.
It was Kerry’s most pessimistic take yet on the peace effort after nearly nine months of frustrating talks with little progress to show.
Kerry made clear that his push for peace is not yet over, and he said both sides claim to want to continue negotiating. But he also said that continuing setbacks in the process — culminating this week with tit-for-tat moves by Israeli and Palestinian officials that have upended good-faith bargaining — could force the U.S. to shift focus to other crises where Washington might have more success.
Kerry has spent major portions of his 14 months as secretary of state pursuing an Israeli-Palestinian agreement despite the seemingly long odds.