Peace talks began Monday in Washington, with hoped that they will mark the end of three years of failed attempts at hammering out a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Representatives of both sides flew to Washington, D.C., where they will discuss the framework for full-fledged peace talks next year. The delegations that will be attending the talks will be senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Secretary of State John Kerry said about the two leaders: "Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point. We are grateful for their leadership.”
Kerry also announced, his appointment of Former Ambassador Martin Indyk as a "special envoy" to the peace talks. The talks are set to practically determine the future of the Middle Eastern aspect. Should the peace talks successfully establish a full-on peace treaty summit between Israel and the Palestinian Authority next year, it may go a long way in loosening tension in the Middle East. Kerry nevertheless remained cautious: "It's no secret that this is a difficult process. If it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago.”
President Obama announced that the talks were a "...promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead."
The negotiations came after a heated amount of discussion on both sides, with many skeptics in the fray. Israel's Cabinet decided on Sunday to free 104 Palestinian prisoners in four stages in order to fulfill requirements from an agreement that was hammered out by Kerry. The prisoner release came as a result of President Netanyahu’s convincing of the Israeli government to free the Palestinians in order to let peace talks move forward. With the four step prisoner release, both sides announced they were sending their envoys to Washington for the talks. Israel’s justice minister, Tzipi Livni, in addition to Isaac Molho, Mr. Netanyahu’s special envoy will represent Israel. Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, and Mohammed Shtayyeh, special adviser, will represent the Palestinian Authority.
With the plans for the talks all set, time will tell what the results of the dinner discussion at John Kerry’s residence in Washington will be.