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Jan 3, 2014 11:18 PM by Connie Murphy

Sniping shadows Kerry's pursuit of Mideast peace

JERUSALEM (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's closed-door diplomacy to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians has burst into a public spat.

Both sides are trading blistering criticisms, Republican senators are showing up in Jerusalem to argue Israel's side, and Palestinian demonstrators are protesting Kerry's visit.

Kerry is on his 10th visit to the region to try to craft a peace treaty that would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

He met for three hours on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later in the day, Kerry traveled to Ramallah, West Bank, to speak with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Although battered by all the sniping, Kerry remained upbeat - at least publicly. Asked if he was making progress, Kerry says progress is being made every day.

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