News / Middle East

Deal Emerging on Mideast Talks Extension

Israeli protesters hold posters demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American who was jailed for life in 1987 on charges of spying on the United States, as they stand outside the U.S. embassy, Tel Aviv, Israel, June 19, 2011.
Israeli protesters hold posters demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American who was jailed for life in 1987 on charges of spying on the United States, as they stand outside the U.S. embassy, Tel Aviv, Israel, June 19, 2011.
VOA News
Officials close to the Mideast peace talks say an agreement is emerging that would extend negotiations through 2015 in exchange for the release of an American convicted of spying for Israel in 1987.

The deal would also include the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and a partial freeze on construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hammered out details of the plan Tuesday, during their second set of talks in as many days.

Kerry, who also met with Palestinian negotiators, will return to Israel and Ramallah for further talks on Wednesday.

Under the proposed deal, Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, would be released before the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins in mid-April.

A Jewish American who was granted Israeli citizenship while he was in prison in 1995, Pollard gave thousands of classified documents to his Israeli handlers. He was arrested in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Pollard pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents to Israel and received a life sentence. U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessors have previously refused to release him, despite pleas from Israeli leaders.

In exchange for his release, Israel would free a fourth group of long-serving Palestinian prisoners, including 14 Arab Israelis whose release is deeply controversial in Israel, as well as 400 other Palestinians who have not been convicted of killing Israelis.

Israel would also agree to "adopt a policy of restraint" in building West Bank settlements. Sources say the limited freeze would not include East Jerusalem, private construction or the building of public institutions.

Palestinian leaders were cool to the emerging proposal, saying it fell far short of their demands for a complete halt to settlement construction and freedom for 1,000 prisoners of their choosing.

The prisoner releases are part of the pact that brought Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table for a nine-month period beginning last July.

The parties involved in the peace effort have not publicly discussed the details of the negotiations, but there has been little visible progress on narrowing gaps on major issues. These include the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, borders and security.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
April 01, 2014 1:45 PM
Peace talks should continue until a comprehensive peace agreement is reached, not just to 2015, it is not good enough, but at least it is beneficial, for it raises the hopes of ordinary Isrs and Pals for real peace. The 2015 date is not really logical nor realistic,because the situation is very complicated, and like it or not, the Gaza territory can't be left standing on its own and outside a peace agreement..

And it will take at least 2 to 3 yrs for the rejectionists of Hamas to fall under the PA, if not longer, and only then a real comprehensive agreement may be possible. Unfortunately, once again it is the Isr gvmt and Sec Kerry that are bending backwards to get these peace negotiations going; frankly, the biggest beneficiaries of a comprehensive peace agreement will be ordinary Pals, more so than ordinary Isrs. But I guess Abbas knows that it will be more difficult to reach an agreement with Hamas than with Isr, thus his apparent reluctance to even negotiate.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid