Handshake to further peace talks: John Kerry oversees breakthrough handshake between Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas

US Secretary of State's push for renewed peace talks between Israel and Palestine leads to promising moment at World Economic Forum

Jerusalem

While there appears so far to be little substantial progress in US Secretary of State John Kerry's push for renewed peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, there was at least a breakthrough with a handshake between Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas.

The two sides have not met for direct talks since 2010, but both the Israelis and the Palestinians have expressed hope that Mr Kerry's latest initiative - which has seen America's leading diplomat visit the region four times in the last two months - will lead to fresh peace talks, and ultimately a lasting settlement.

The handshake took place at the World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan and followed conciliatory speeches by the two men. Mr Peres, the Israeli president, in his speech, said:  “President Abbas, you are our partner and we are yours. You share our hopes and efforts for peace, and we share yours. We can and should make the breakthrough. We should not permit the hurdles to overcome us. History will judge us not by the process of negotiations but by its outcome. The today obstacles will pale in the light of peace.”

It came as Mr Kerry shed some light on what his peace plan might entail, as he unveiled a $4bn investment plan for the Palestinian economy. The initiative, which will be led by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, will bring together private sector investors. Mr Kerry said he believed that the Palestinian economy could grow by 50 per cent in three years - a growth rate that would outstrip even the world's most buoyant economies.

That matched the mood of the event, which earlier in the day, saw Mr Peres tell reporters, “It's time for peace. It shouldn't be so complicated…. I do believe it is a real possibility.”

Those words were attacked by several right-wing politicians in Israel. The country's Tourism Minister, Uzi Landau, invoked Auschwitz to dismiss the idea that any new talks would be based on 1967 borders. Quoting Abba Eban, an Israeli foreign minister who served in the late 1960s, Mr Landau said: “Eban once said that the 1967 border is the border of Auschwitz. What country would like to achieve borders which make it impossible to defend itself?”

Another cabinet minister, Yuval Steinitz, criticized Mr Peres saying the president does not have the authority to express opinions on the objectives of the peace process.

“I didn't know Peres aspired to be the government's spokesman,” he said sarcastically before the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting. “Any statement on the eve of negotiations of this sort - how shall we put this gently? - is unhelpful.”

Mr Abbas - the president of the Palestinian Authority - said that any deal must be lasting and that any offer of temporary borders would be insufficient. Temporary borders, “will not end the conflict,” he said. “They will prolong it.”

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style