In an otherwise quiet week in national politics, United States Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to take a New Year’s Day trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, according to Yahoo! News on Sunday morning. The excursion is for the purpose of pushing forward peace talks in light of a nine-month deadline.
This will be Kerry’s 10th trip to the area in the past 9 months. Additionally, Israel stated that it will be releasing another 26 Palestinian prisoners on Monday. The others who remain will be released in March of 2014.
The specific statement from Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokesperson, stated that on January 1, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to Ramallah to meet with President Mahmud Abbas. Psaki also specified that in these meetings, Kerry will discuss the ongoing final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, among other issues.
Kerry has asked the Israelis and Palestinians to resume talks in the past. Now he is pushing the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach a peace deal ahead of an April deadline. The specifics of the talks are being kept private.