State Sec'y Kerry Postpones Fifth Trip to Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry won't be returning to Israel this week for his fifth attempt to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The secretary of state planned to arrive Tuesday for separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later this week.

Kerry reportedly postponed the trip to participate in meetings on U.S. arming of Syrian rebel forces attempting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. In addition, Netanyahu leaves Wednesday for a two-day visit to Poland.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters in Jerusalem on Monday that Netanyahu was "very serious" and "very sincere" about renewing talks with the Palestinians.

According to media reports on Monday, Israel offered to release 50 prisoners as a goodwill gesture to restart talks, but Abbas refused demanding the release of 107 prisoners.

Meanwhile, leaders of both Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, say there will be no resumption of talks until Israel agrees to withdraws to the 1948 armistice lines, re-divide Jerusalem, release all Arab prisoners and accept the return of 5,000 "refugees" into what's left of the truncated state.

Speaking Sunday on the so-called Palestinian right of return, Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said the Jewish state has no future on Palestinian land.

"This key tells the story of a people who have been displaced from their land and subjected to the greatest international piracy at the hands of Zionist gangs," Haniyeh said, according to the P.A.'s official Ma'an News Agency.

In related news, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon barred senior Fatah minister Jibril Rajoub from entering Israel to speak at a conference, citing his frequent hate speech.

"We will not accept a situation in which a person spews demonizing words and hate speech against us, as the worst of inciters, while simultaneously seeking to enter the State of Israel as if nothing happened," the defense minister said on Facebook Saturday evening.

Click here to read more of Jabril's remarks, posted by the Palestinian Media Watch.

And Marwan Barghouti, former head of Fatah's Tanzim militia now serving five life sentences plus 40 years for masterminding terror attacks against Israelis, said the Obama administration has "disappointed many."

In a letter forwarded by his lawyer to China's official state media, Xinhua Barghouti said Kerry should demand that Israel "end occupation and establish a sovereign Palestinian state."

Barghouti restated his support for "popular resistance" (terror attacks), blaming stalled negotiations on "extremist Israeli positions and the absence of an Israeli peace partner."

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.