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Kerry Approaches Dead End Over Israel's Settlements

US Secretary of State John Kerry risks becoming wallpaper — familiar, unobtrusive and ineffective — in a peace process that is going nowhere.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is silhouetted during a news conference at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv April 9, 2013. Kerry said on Tuesday he had agreed to work with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to boost economic growth in the occupied West Bank as he seeks ways to revive Middle East peace talks. REUTERS/Paul J. Richards/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXYER1

US Secretary of State John Kerry is soon to depart for his fifth visit to Israel in search of a diplomatic formula that will permit negotiations between Israel and the PLO to begin in earnest. Over the decades, there have been any number of mediators — many of them forgettable and some few who are not — who have sought without lasting success to breach the divide between the parties. Kerry is the latest in this long progression. He certainly won't be the last. But it is a fair question at this point in his campaign to ask just what exactly Kerry is bringing to the process that distinguishes his effort — and its prospects — from its predecessors. 

There is always the chance that what is going on in the public eye only reveals the less important part of the story, and that behind closed doors Kerry's leadership is producing a dynamic “common space” between Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that addresses the core issues of the conflict.  

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