Kerry Heads to Paris in Hopes of Restarting Mideast Talks

May 31,2016

STATE DEPARTMENT— With Israel’s ultranationalist new Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying he backs a two-state solution, analysts say the Paris ministerial meeting aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict later this week may get Israel to “acquiesce somewhat” to move the peace process forward, despite low expectations of a breakthrough.

The recent escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians suggests that conflict has become the status quo for both sides.

But there is a glimmer of hope, with Israel’s ultranationalist new Defense Minister Lieberman saying he supports “two states for two peoples.”

FILE - Secretary of State John Kerry.

Still optimistic

More than two years after the breakdown of peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has not given up hope for a lasting solution.

"I will work with the French. I’ll work with Egyptians. I will work with the Arab community. I’ll work with the global community in good faith in an effort to see if we can find a way to help the parties see their way to come back and ultimately see their way to a final status agreement that meets the needs of the parties, the needs of the region,” said Kerry.

While cautioning that the ministers should not get their hopes up, analysts like the Brookings Institution’s Natan Sachs say the latest development may help move the peace process forward.

"They might get Israel to acquiesce somewhat to this kind of idea, but a major breakthrough, a major movement in the peace process - that remains quite low,” said Sachs.

Paris meeting

The Paris gathering, without Israelis or Palestinians present, is intended to pave the way for an international conference to set new parameters for negotiating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.