Kerry talks to Netanyahu, Abbas

John Kerry, freshly installed as secretary of state, spoke with Palestinian and Israeli leaders the weekend of Feb. 2-3.

Also during the weekend, two top State Department officials dealing with Iran’s alleged nuclear threat said they would stop in Israel during overseas visits, and Israel’s military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, made a stop in Washington.

Kerry, who plans to visit the region later this month, spoke by phone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kerry was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has traveled extensively throughout the world, including the Middle East.

During his confirmation hearings he said that he would work to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. — jta