Kerry and Abbas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Photo by AP
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday he believes progress can be made in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  

Kerry, who had met earlier with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told American students at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem that he remained hopeful. "I am a believer in the possibility… we could achieve something," he said, "but it will be very, very difficult."

Kerry made a surprise appearance at a briefing by State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki to students from an American Jewish Committee delegation.

Some of the students present reported what Kerry has said in their Twitter accounts and even posted photographs. One of the students said that Kerry explained he was "wading through a volatile cocktail of issues." Kerry reportedly added that "the U.S. is working with a lot of good will, and 'both leaders recognize the consequences of failure."

Kerry is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday evening. Even as he made his way to Ramallah, however, Palestinians were protesting on the streets of the city, chanting "Go home." One Palestinian official described the framework agreement that Kerry is trying to broker as 'a worthless piece of paper."

Meanwhile, U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, who is also in Israel and has conferred with the Israeli Prime minister, told a news conference on Friday that Netanyahu doubted the proposals.

"Netanyahu has serious, serious concerns about the plan as it has been presented to him, whether it be on the ability of Israel to defend its borders, on the reliability of a Palestinian state ... and particularly on the overall security," he said.

"We also are very concerned," he said, standing alongside fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.