Expectations for John Kerry's latest visit in Israel are markedly low as the US secretary of state makes a desperate attempt to salvage stagnant peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israeli state officials described the visit as "another futile attempt" while the Palestinians asserted it was a last chance to save the peace talks before a chance for a two-state solution is permanently lost.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday evening for another round of talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah, with Palestinian officials again voicing deep pessimism about any breakthrough in peace talks, and Israeli officials more keen on talking to Kerry about Iran than about the Palestinians.
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US Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the third time in 24 hours on Friday for talks understood to be focused on security.
Kerry, who is seeking ways to drive forward stagnant peace talks, met twice with Netanyahu on Thursday for more than six hours of talks about potential security issues in any peace agreement. He also held a three-hour meeting on Thursday in Ramallah with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Early on Friday, Kerry met Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid at a Jerusalem hotel, after which he entered another round of talks with Netanyahu, officials said. The US diplomat was then expected to head straight to Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv where he would hold a news conference before flying home.
Kerry and Lapid on Friday morning before their meeting in Jerusalem
Photo: Reuters, Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Finance Minister Yair Lapid met with US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday, telling him how he appreciated his efforts in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. "Despite the disagreements and potholes on the way, a peace agreement is what both sides want."
Lapid also thanked Kerry for the strong alliance Israel has with the Americans, and said that the final nuclear agreement with Iran must prevent Iran from obtaining military nuclear capabilities.
Yair Lapid received a copy of 'Eye to Eye' in Washington, DC on October 11.
The bond between the US and Israel is "unbreakable," and while there may be tactical differences between the two countries occasionally, the long term strategy for Israel's security and peace in the region is the same, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem Thursday.
Kerry's comments, following a meeting with Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, came after a month of high-profile, public disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem both over the policy toward Iran, and the talks with the Palestinians. The two men, who both referred to the other as "my friend," took pains to present a common and amiable front.
Secretary of State John Kerry will present the outlines of a West Bank security plan in meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week, stepping up American involvement in hopes of reviving faltering Mideast peace efforts, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
The proposal will mark the first time that Kerry has directly intervened in the talks since they began in late July. By all accounts, the negotiations have made no progress, despite an April target date for reaching a deal.
14 EU member states, including the U.K. and France, are ready to start labeling products from West Bank settlements differently than products manufactured within the Green Line. Despite the warning, the decision could take some time, as all 28 member states need to back such directives.
Photo: Reuters, Cris Toala Olivares
More than 100,000 homes were left without power across Britain, 80,000 of them in Scotland, according to energy company SSE.
North Sea oil and gas producers including ConocoPhillips, Maersk Oil, and Statoil cut production and evacuated staff from some platforms.
All train services in Scotland were canceled on Thursday morning due to debris on the tracks but services were slowly restored during the day. Lifeboat crews were called to rescue people from flooded homes in Rhyl in north Wales.
Low-lying coastal areas of eastern England were waiting for the storm to hit on Thursday evening, with the Environment Agency issuing 41 severe flood warnings, the highest category.
Police were advising more than 15,000 people to evacuate east coast areas vulnerable to tidal surges, although sea defenses have been strengthened since storms and flooding killed hundreds on the North Sea coast in 1953.
Germany's northern port of Hamburg was preparing for a direct hit, which some forecasters said could be as powerful as a storm and flood in the city in 1962 that killed 315.
A storm lashed northern Europe with gusts of up to 228 km/h, killing three people and causing havoc for pilots trying to land planes at Glasgow, Birmingham and Newcastle airports.
Tens of thousands of homes were also left without power as Storm Xaver tore through the area.
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