It would probably be saying too much to speak of optimism, but there are new reports of earnestness in reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, even as right-wing elements within Israel attempt to dig in against compromise on Jerusalem (perhaps anticipating something they fear).
For example, in The New Republic, Ben Birnbaum has reversed the negativity of an article he published in March, with “Netanyahu Sure Looks Like He’s Getting Ready to Divide Jerusalem.” Birnbaum notes that Netanyahu has not been mentioning Jerusalem in public statements over the last few months, and that this omission is being noticed with worry by right-wing commentators. He also recalled that “Likud Knesset member Tzachi Hanegbi, who is very close to Netanyahu, came out for dividing Jerusalem at the J Street conference (and was not reprimanded in any way).”
And there are these stories as summarized today in J Street’s daily email News Roundup:
Kerry: As peace talks intensify, all core issues on the table, Times of Israel
Speaking in Paris on Monday after a meeting with the Arab League, Kerry said that Israel and the Palestinians “have been engaged now in 13 meetings — serious meetings. They had three meetings in the last four days… All the core issues are on the table. And they have been meeting with increased intensity.” He also used announced that Qatar was forgiving $150 million in Palestinian Authority debt.
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to bring a controversial bill that would require a Knesset supermajority to negotiate on Jerusalem before the cabinet for a vote. Knesset opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich criticized the bill, accusing right-wing lawmakers of seeking to hampering negotiations in advance.”