News

    Fate Of Jerusalem Key to Mideast Peace

    The flurry of diplomacy and talk of war in recent weeks by the United States, Iran and Israel has overshadowed what has been a central issue in the Middle East for more than four decades - the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

    And always central to that endeavor has been a solution to one of the thorniest problems in

    Israeli and Palestinian leaders have tried to renew peace talks several times. Here are some developments in the peace process since 2000:

    • July 20, 2000: Israeli and Palestinian leaders hold an inconclusive meeting at U.S. presidential retreat Camp David.
    • February 8, 2005: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agree in Egypt to a cease-fire.
    • November 27, 2007: U.S. hosts conference, Israel and Palestinians began year-long process of direct talks, but the process sputters.
    • September 2, 2010: Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet for the first time in two years in Washington.
    • September 26, 2010: Israel's freeze on settlement construction expires, talks break down over the issue of new Israeli building.
    • September 23, 2011: Mr. Abbas asks the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.
    • February 2012: U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon urges Israeli and Palestinian officials to continue exploratory talks they began in January.

    all of diplomacy - the status of Jerusalem, the ancient city holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    Nations and empires of the East and West have fought over the city for more than 2,000 years, but in modern times, these struggles have focused on competing claims to Jerusalem by Israelis and Palestinians.

    For both sides, the status of Jerusalem is one of the core issues in the search for a lasting overall peace settlement.

    Israeli forces captured the western sector of Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Jordan controlled the eastern sector of Jerusalem until the 1967 Six-Day war when Israelis forces captured it as well and united the city.

    Since then, the international community, including the United States, has considered East Jerusalem to be occupied territory whose fate is to be determined by peace negotiations.

    Israel has proclaimed Jerusalem as its eternal, undivided capital city. But Palestinians, in their push to establish an independent Palestinian nation, want East Jerusalem back as its capital.

    To stress their neutrality on the issue, nations that have diplomatic relations with Israel have all established their embassies in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

    U.S. Campaign Issue

    But Newt Gingrich, a candidate for the Republican Party’s U.S. presidential nomination, wants to change that. Recently, he brought up the question of Jerusalem during an address to an American pro-Israeli organization.

    “On the very first day I am president, I will sign the Executive Order to move the American embassy to Jerusalem,” Gingrich told a convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton agrees with Gingrich on the issue.

    “Obviously you would have to consult with the government of Israel,” Bolton told VOA. “We want to do this in a sensible fashion, but it’s hard for me to understand why the U.S. embassy isn’t in a country’s capital city.”

    Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert at New York University, says Gingrich’s position on Jerusalem is clearly designed to win the votes of American Jews in his quest for the presidency.

    “If he becomes president, which is not likely at this juncture, he is probably not going to move the embassy anyway,” Ben Meir said in an interview, adding that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had made similar statements at one point or another.

    “But they haven’t [moved the embassy] - because when they are in the White House and they understand the repercussions of such a move - because this is going to alienate the Arab world - and the United States does not want to alienate the whole Arab world only for symbolic reasons,” Ben Meir said.

    Muslim Interests Weighed

    Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert with the London School of Economics, agrees, noting that a sitting president has to deal with the complexities of U.S. foreign policy.

    “This [embassy move] would be truly a major move on the part of the United States,” Gerges told VOA, adding that it could harm American interests throughout the region and the larger Muslim world.

    “The whole idea is that the United States does not move its embassy to Jerusalem ‘till there is a peace agreement and both communities, both identities, have their own capital in Jerusalem - East Jerusalem for the Palestinians and West Jerusalem for the Jewish people,” Gerges concluded.

    But most analysts agree that such a diplomatic solution is not likely any time soon, given the fact that the Middle East peace process is at a standstill and no progress is expected during a presidential election year in the United States.

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora