Upon assuming office as Secretary of State, John Kerry pledged to pursue peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinians. Unlike his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, who backed away from taking a tough line on Israel leaders, Kerry is demanding they enter into negotiations with Palestinian leaders. Step one is now taking place in Washington D.C. where leaders from both nations are actually sitting in the same room and discussing how to proceed on the road to peace. Kerry has simply refused to take, “no” as an answer from either side, and his nonstop motion of going back and forth has finally produced a starting point.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally agreed to free a hundred prisoners who had been in jail for decades. President Abbas may have to also swallow a bitter pill and sit down to negotiate without assurances that settlement building will not be proceeding. Neither side will be happy, and neither side will have the assurances they believe are necessary. John Kerry understands that successful negotiations requires taking gambles. Neither side will emerge with the “victory” they desire. But, it might just begin a process that can eventually result in peace and the end of violence. Such is the difficult road to peace.