The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 7, 2013

Palestinian officials urge Obama to push for peace

(Continued)

Danny Ayalon, who recently stepped down as Israel's deputy foreign minister, said there may be more hope for bringing the sides to the negotiating table following Israel's recent election, in which Netanyahu won another term.

Netanyahu is building a new coalition now, and he has signaled that he seeks to include centrist parties that have demanded a resumption of peace efforts.

"The next government may have more wiggle room because of the coalition," Ayalon said.

Newly sworn-in Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to visit Israel, the Palestinian territories and other countries in the region this month to prepare for Obama's trip. Kerry also spoke with Netanyahu and Abbas over the weekend to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the peace process.

___

Associated Press writer Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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