U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

Gilad Halpern
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Gilad Halpern

If U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry learned anything in his first six months on the job, it is that persistence pays. Having traveled to the Middle East no fewer than six times between March and July, he did the impossible: Following months - if not years - of foot-dragging, he persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to soften their intransigence and carry out mutual goodwill gestures. His tenacious lobbying culminated last week with his announcement that talks between Israel and the Palestinians would resume after three years of deadlock.

Kerry, who was a U.S. senator for Massachusetts from 1985 until taking over as Washington's top diplomat, maintained a cordial relationship with his state's Jewish community throughout his career. In 2004, as the Democratic presidential candidate, he voiced his commitment to Israel's security, but proved insufficient to dethrone President George W. Bush, who was reelected.

Kerry's dogged peacemaking-push emanates from a burning sense of urgency. "The window for a two-state solution is shutting," he told a Congressional panel recently, insisting that the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel – Washington's years-long desired goal – may soon become unfeasible.

"The parties have agreed that all of the final status issues, core issues and other issues are on the table for negotiations," Kerry saidat the launch event last week, outlining his main achievement to date. The objective, he said, is to reach a final status agreement within nine months.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's comments on possible strike on Syria drove Israeli stocks down Tuesday. Credit: AP

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott