Kerry lands in Israel for cease-fire talks

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel to advance cease-fire talks between Hamas and Israel.

A statement by his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said Kerry arrived Wednesday.

“He will also travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and will be meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian Authority President (Mahmoud) Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” the statement said.

Kerry flew into Ben Gurion Airport on a military jet despite a ban by the Federal Aviation Agency on U.S. commercial flights to and from the airport due to the Gaza conflict, The Associated Press reported.

Kerry spent the past two days in Egypt working on a proposal with that country’s government to halt hostilities that have killed some 600 Palestinians and more than 30 Israelis. Hamas rejected an earlier Egyptian proposal that was accepted by Israel.

After meeting with Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, Kerry said there has been some progress toward a cease-fire, Haaretz reported. Ban has been in the region since the weekend.

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