US Secretary of State John Kerry has hinted that Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements might not be evacuated under a future peace deal; however, they would live under Palestinian sovereignty. The international community widely perceives Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law.
The Secretary of State's comments came during an interview with Israel's Channel 2 news. The channel aired selected segments of the interview on Wednesday, noting that the full interview will be broadcast on Thursday.
Kerry stressed during the interview that he is determined to complete drafting a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, believing that it "will pave the way for further negotiations on the permanent status" issues, which include borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
US-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel resumed in July 2013 and were scheduled to last for nine months. Thus far, no real progress has been achieved.
However, Kerry has dismissed the possibility of losing hope in reaching an agreement, insisting that: "This is not the way I work. People who know me know that when I sink my teeth into something, I try to get it done."