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Kerry keeps at it: Attempts to revive 'peace talks'

John Kerry

TEL AVIV – The U.S. is working behind the scenes to open a secret channel to revive long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND.

The negotiator said Martin Indyk, U.S. special envoy for Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, presented the potential channel for the continuation of quiet talks to both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Norway has volunteered to serve as a conduit between Netanyahu, Abbas and the U.S., the negotiator said.

The use of Norway may not go over well with Netanyahu since the country’s sovereign wealth fund has supported the boycott of Jewish goods manufactured in the strategic West Bank, divesting recently from two Israeli companies.

The secret channel for talks was proposed by Indyk even as Abbas attempts to broker a national unity government with the Hamas terrorist organization.

On Sunday, Netanyahu called for Abbas to choose either a deal with Israel or a deal with Hamas.

“President Abbas has to decide whether he wants a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel. He cannot speak out of both sides of his mouth. He cannot embrace Hamas and say that he wants peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The proposed U.S. channel for continued talks also comes as Secretary of State John Kerry tries to explain away his use of the word “apartheid” in describing the future of Israel absent a deal with the Palestinians.

According to the Daily Beast, Kerry on Friday told a closed-door meeting in Washington of the Trilateral Commission that Israel risked becoming an “apartheid state” if a so-called two-state solution is not reached.

Kerry did not mention how the PA currently oversees apartheid practices, including imposing the death penalty on any Arab caught selling land to Jews. Arabs, meanwhile, have full democratic rights in the state of Israel.

In response to the controversy, which included some resignation calls from lawmakers, Kerry’s stated, “I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.

“First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one,” he said.

“Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution,” Kerry said.