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Kerry: Obama plans to 'listen', not present peace plan
Published Tuesday 26/02/2013 (updated) 28/02/2013 10:47
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BERLIN (Reuters) -- US President Barack Obama will not bring a peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict next month, but rather intends to listen, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Obama's plan to visit has raised speculation of a new US push to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, stalled since 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

But Kerry, speaking to German students during his first foreign trip as Washington's top diplomat, played down expectations.

"We're not going to go and sort of plunk a plan down and tell everybody what they have to do," Kerry said. "I want to consult and the president wants to listen."

Obama, who has a testy relationship with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made peace between Israelis and Palestinians a priority in his first term but, four years later, has little to show for it.

Kerry said that after Obama's trip, which also includes a stop in Jordan, the United States would see how it might pursue peace. He urged all sides to behave calmly and keep the possibility of peace alive.

Tensions have risen in the West Bank after the death of Arafat Jadarat in an Israeli jail on Saturday, with PA officials saying he was tortured by Israeli interrogators.

A hunger strike by four other Palestinian prisoners has also fueled violent protests.

Step back a little

"We really hope everybody will step back a little and try to find a way to proceed very calmly and very thoughtfully in these next days (and) leave the opportunities for peaceful resolution open," Kerry said.

In an apparent show of solidarity with popular protests in the West Bank, militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into Israel on Tuesday for the first time since a truce ended a week of cross-border fighting in November.

There were no casualties in the strike, which was claimed by Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which is affiliated with Fatah.

Hamas, who have governed the Gaza Strip since wresting control of the territory from Fatah in 2007, said it was investigating the incident.

There was no immediate Israeli military response.

Netanyahu has said he hopes Abbas will return to peace talks, but has made clear he intends to put Iran's nuclear program at the top of the agenda of his meetings with Obama, who has drawn criticism in Israel for not visiting during his first term.

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear power, and the West fear Iran's enrichment of uranium is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

Netanyahu has hinted strongly at Israeli military action if international sanctions fail to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, which Tehran says are purely peaceful.

World powers, holding their first meeting with Iran in eight months, were expected to offer limited sanctions relief in talks on Tuesday in the Kazakh city of Almaty if Iran agreed to halt its most sensitive nuclear work.
1 ) Obama understands the ISRAEL / is the ONLY SHINING LIGHT
26/02/2013 15:54

2 ) Tobias / USA
26/02/2013 16:13
Neither side is ready to surrender to the other's demands, so
there is no reason to come, much less "present a peace plan."

3 ) Robert / U.S.
26/02/2013 17:35
More bullshit ... war crimes,illegal land confiscation,Apartheid must be addressed..

4 ) Mitri I. Musleh / Canada
26/02/2013 17:42
Ironic, aren’t those the same words Obama used when he was first elected to office regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict? “We will listen and not dictate”.
Hasn’t the US President listened long enough?
I do believe that time is ripe for a new strategy.

5 ) AKeenReader / UK
26/02/2013 18:00
That's what the US and the west has been doing for over two decades ie just listen pay lip service to the Palestinian cause. When will they wake up or will they ever?

6 ) Nour / 1-State
26/02/2013 18:11
Listen to the parties...A euphemism for more American nods to Apartheid, Racism, State Terror, and Occupation. Enjoy fellow Palestinians who still don't perceive the PA as a bunch of traitors and sell-outs.

7 ) Outlier / USA
26/02/2013 18:24
Obama will not expend political capital so long as both sides remain inflexible. Time for Israel and the Palestinians to head to the negotiating table - without preconditions - to see whether a general approach to peace can be reached.

8 ) @ Mitri-4 / USA
26/02/2013 18:29
- FYI, unless a state (like THE US) brings it's military to "dictate" to another sovereign state, it CAN ONLY "LISTEN" to another sovereign state, and
- with that said, you're right "the US President listened long enough", and
- the US has also funded the dead-end "Palestine project" long enough,
particularly since the US (& UN too) have so many bigger (Syria-like) problems, where talks and change still seem possible !!

9 ) Reader / from Edmonton
26/02/2013 21:23
What doesn't the US not already know about the situation? They know the legal borders of Israel and the State of Palestine. They know about Israel's illegal occupation of the State of Palestine and other territories. They know about the criminal behaviour of the occupier transporting its citizens into occupied territory and its daily brutalization of the Palestinians. Perhaps America doesn't know decency.

10 ) JoeUSA / USA
26/02/2013 21:43
Eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.....

11 ) chuck / usa
26/02/2013 23:48
looks like obama is going to get his monthly anal exam and to make sure his balls didn't grow back.

27/02/2013 08:30
Maybe Obama realizes that there can never be peace because the Jews want a Jewish State, majority Jewish, run by Jewish values and the Moslems do not want the Jews to have such a State. There is no compromise - it has nothing to do with borders. One side wants a Jewish State, the other side wants to end the Jewish State. If Israel exists, it wins. Therefore there can be no peace. Israel will not end itself and the Muslims will not accept it. So just pick a side. i prefer Israel myself.

13 ) Freedom & Peace / Negotiations
27/02/2013 14:22
- Abbas says "No peace without freedom for prisoners", and
Israel says No freedom for prisoners without peace, and
- Obviously freedom and peace must be achieved simultaneously,
so it's time to stop making such statements and NEGOTIATE them,
or it's time to accept there will be no peace & no FREEDOM !!!!

14 ) gabi / australia
01/03/2013 01:11
# 12 - that's all very well, but you well know that Israel will not just annex the occupied territories because then they'd have to give the Palestinians the vote, and that ends the Jewish state. You prefer a Jewish state? Then you clearly prefer that the occupation, with all its injustices to the occupied, continue for another 60 years or so. Not very well thought out, is it?
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