News

    US in Diplomatic Push for Renewed Gaza Cease-Fire

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The Bush administration on Monday mounted a campaign of telephone diplomacy aimed at achieving a durable and sustainable Gaza cease-fire.  Meanwhile, analysts say the Gaza crisis has complicated Middle East peace-making hopes for President-elect Barack Obama. 

    With little more than three weeks left in office, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are applying all of the political leverage they have to try to restore the Gaza cease-fire and preserve the gains of a year of intensive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

    While putting the blame for the crisis squarely on Hamas, the administration is urging Israel to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza and imploring nations in the region to use their influence to restore calm.

    President Bush telephoned Jordan's King Abdullah early Monday while Secretary Rice continued a series of calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, among others.

    State Department Acting Spokesman Gordon Duguid said the aim is to restore the Gaza cease-fire that lapsed earlier this month, but with an end to the rocket firings into Israel that prompted the Israeli offensive.

    "The United States is working actively to restore the cease-fire," he said. "The responsibility for violating the truce lies with Hamas.  Hamas needs to stop its rocket attacks and then we believe the cease-fire can be restored.  But it must be sustainable and durable."

    Rice's outreach included calls to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - the other principals in the international "Quartet" on the Middle East.

    Rice is also briefing the Barack Obama transition team and aides to incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her Gaza diplomacy.

    U.S. political analysts say Israel timed its Gaza offensive so that military action would be over before Mr. Obama takes office on January 20.  But they say the offensive has dimmed hopes for early progress on an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

    In a conference call with reporters, U.S. Council on Foreign Relations analyst Daniel Senor, a former chief U.S. spokesman in Iraq, said Israel would be disinclined to consider a West Bank withdrawal if the rocket threat from Gaza is not removed.

    "The whole notion of a two-state solution, as far as the Israelis are concerned, it is on the line right now," he said. "What I mean by that is that if the Israelis can't be convinced that the U.S. and the international community will let them, if you will, defend against Gaza, then I think the West and the international community can forget about a serious process that would also involve disengagement from the West Bank."

    Senor's fellow analyst at the New York-based policy group, Steven Cook, said the Gaza crisis also sets back hopes for peace-making by the Obama administration because it has undercut Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.

    "It clearly, clearly complicates any effort to engage in a vigorous diplomatic effort because the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip has necessarily weakened Mahmoud Abbas, who has staked his political legacy and his vision of the Palestinians finally achieving their rights on negotiations with the Israelis," he said. "And it's hard to negotiate with the Israelis as they are attacking the Gaza Strip or have just completed attacking the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented since 1967 kind of military operation."

    Officials from the Obama transition team have said little about the Gaza crisis, deferring to the outgoing administration.  Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod told interviewers on Sunday that the president-elect wants to be a constructive force for the peace and stability that both Israelis and the Palestinians want and deserve.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora