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Netanyahu: Settlements prove our deep connection to Hebron
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Jerusalem , ALRAY - On the very eve of his meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu sent a letter to the Jewish community of Hebron wishing it success this weekend, when thousands of Jews traditionally flock to the West Bank city to honor the Biblical matriarch Sarah, who is buried there, Harretz reported.

“Our deep connection to Hebron, via both permanent settlement and temporary settlement ... has never ceased,” Netanyahu wrote. “The renewal of the Jewish community in Hebron ... forged another link in the long chain of generations ... I hope that the ‘Hebron Shabbat,’ with its thousands of participants, will deepen our connection to the city of our forefathers.”

Netanyahu will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome today. The two have set aside an unusually long time for the meeting, seven hours, four of which will be spent in private talks with no aides present.

Senior Israeli officials said most of the meeting will be devoted to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with Kerry seeking clear answers from Netanyahu on what compromises he is willing to make to obtain a final status agreement.

The meeting is expected to begin about noon, Rome time, and end at 7 P.M. The two men will also discuss Iran’s nuclear program and the situations in Syria and Egypt, but Kerry is primarily interested in discussing the Palestinian issue.

So far, no significant progress has been made in the peace talks, which are headed on the Israeli side by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu’s special envoy, Isaac Molho, and on the Palestinian side by Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh. Nevertheless, Kerry is pleased that the pace of the talks has accelerated in recent weeks. Since negotiations began on July 29, 13 meetings have been held, of which three took place just in the last five days – last Friday in Jerusalem, Sunday in Jericho and Monday in Jerusalem again.

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