Kerry heading back to Israel for more talks


(JTA) — U.S.  Secretary of State John Kerry will return this week to Jerusalem and Ramallah, his second visit in two weeks.

Kerry will discuss Iran and the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations during a meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Monday. He will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the same day.

Following his visit to the region, Kerry will travel to five cities in Asia.

Speaking Monday in Washington at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s 100th anniversary celebration, Kerry said the United States is “deeply committed to the security of Israel and of the well-being of the Jewish people by virtue of that.”

He added, “We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon – not now, not ever. And I promise you that.”

Kerry asserted that the interim deal with Iran is setting back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program while a permanent agreement is negotiated.

Addressing the peace talks, Kerry said, “I believe, as President Obama does, that Israel will be far more secure if we can also put to test the possibilities of the two-state solution. And so we will continue to attempt to do that despite the skepticism, despite the cynicism in some quarters.”

The secretary of state said he speaks two to three times a week with Netanyahu.

Kerry also praised the “bond” between the State Department and the JDC.

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