At one such meeting Wednesday, according to text released by the State Department, Kerry said,“ . . . I will tell you that all of the issues are on the table: territory, security, refugees, Jerusalem — all of the final status issues are on the table. And importantly, we are not seeking an interim agreement; we are seeking a final status agreement.”
At a U.N. news conference Wednesday, Yuval Steinitz, Israeli minister of strategic and intelligence affairs, said a peace deal is in everyone’s interest.
“Most of the people of Israel will support such an agreement even if it will include difficult concessions on behalf of Israel on one condition,” Steinitz said: “that the people of Israel will be confident that what we get in return is genuine peace, a real end of the conflict,” and security.
Abbas addresses the United Nations on Thursday, and U.S. officials are holding their breath. He has agreed to shelve his U.N. bid for now, but is not likely to hold back on criticism of Israel.
He met with Obama and Kerry in New York, but some Palestinians had hoped for a White House invitation for Abbas this year. Netanyahu will see Obama in the Oval Office on Monday, a day ahead of his address next week as the closing speaker for the U.N. gathering.
The timing, which Israeli officials have said was not a deliberate attempt to avoid Abbas, removed any chance for a symbolic three-way meeting among top U.S., Palestinian and Israeli leaders at the United Nations.
“We have no illusions that peace will be easy or simple,” Abbas said at his meeting with Obama. “We have to overcome several difficulties, but we realize that peace in the Middle East is not just important for the Palestinians and Israelis, it’s important for the entire region and the world.” He spoke through an interpreter.