Although Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Israel this week has been billed as an effort to calm tensions, aides were saying on Monday that hopes for a positive result were not high.
In addition, the purpose of the trip appeared rather vague. There is “no particular significance” to the timing, nor any specific goal set for the trip, aides said.
Kerry will discuss with Israeli and Palestinian leaders “the normal things you’d imagine we’d have to talk about,” a senior administration official told reporters over the weekend.
He is scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“We’re not trying to make any kind of an agreement with the Israelis ourselves, and we’re certainly not trying to make any kind of agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians to resume negotiations or otherwise.”
Ahead of Kerry’s arrival, several senior U.S. officials were in Israel to set up an agenda for meetings. “We talked about some ideas for how to stop the violence,” one official said, “improve conditions for the Palestinians, and start to get things headed in a more positive direction.”
“Nothing concrete has come out of that, and I don’t want to get into any of the specifics other than to say that a variety of different ideas have been talked about, all with the purpose of trying to stop the violence and restore calm in a sustainable way.”