News / Middle East

2010: Frustrating Year for Middle East Peace

Palestinian men work on a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, 20 Oct 2010
Palestinian men work on a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, 20 Oct 2010

Multimedia

In 2010, there were some breakthroughs in efforts to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But the year ended in frustration, with both sides as far apart as ever on the key issues of borders, Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the status of Jerusalem. 

At the end of each year, Imran Akram, a Palestinian farmer near the West Bank city of Nablus, normally picks his olive trees. This year, there's no harvest.

He's trying to save his trees after what he says was an attack by residents of a nearby Jewish settlement.  They cut his trees because - he says - they want to drive him from his land.

For him, 2010 began with the hope that U.S.-brokered peace talks would end the Israeli occupation, but hope faded.

"Before the talks, I had a 40 or 50 percent hope that negotiations would succeed and we would reach peace.  Unfortunately, all these negotiations are a failure," said Akram.

US Mideast envoy George Mitchell (file photo)
US Mideast envoy George Mitchell (file photo)
U.S. efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the table intensified early in the year as President Obama's special envoy, George Mitchell, shuttled to the region.

In May, the Arab League endorsed indirect talks.  "What we have from the Americans today satisfied our requests and demands and we hope we will watch the deeds and not the words," said Palestinian Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The Palestinians said they would agree to direct talks only if Israel halted settlement building on the occupied West Bank.  The U.S. applied pressure, and Israel declared a 10-month partial freeze on Jewish settlement as a sign of good faith.

US President Barack Obama talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the conclusion of a statement to the press in the East Room of the White House, 01 Sep 2010
US President Barack Obama talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the conclusion of a statement to the press in the East Room of the White House, 01 Sep 2010
Direct talks began in Washington in early September. "By being here today, you each have taken an important step toward freeing your peoples from the shackles of a history we cannot change and moving toward a future of peace and dignity that only you can create," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But the hope of creating peace was short-lived. Within weeks, Israel let its self-imposed construction freeze expire.  Construction resumed. The Palestinians walked out. U.S. envoy George Mitchell returned to the region.

"We are determined to continue and we are continuing our efforts to find common ground between the parties to enable the direct negotiations to continue," he said.

The United States offered Israel jet fighters and diplomatic guarantees in return for a construction freeze so talks would resume.  Israel hesitated and in early December the U.S. pulled the offer. Many Israelis want their government to refrain from further talks with the Palestinians.

"From the beginning I did not have high hopes and now I do not have high hopes because the Palestinians do not have the courage to make decisions," said an Israeli man.  "We made difficult decisions, we withdrew from the Sinai, we withdraw from Gaza and what did we get?"

Many Israelis feel that their withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 brought rocket attacks from the enclave. It was taken over by Hamas militants after Israel's pullout.

Many also believe that earlier withdrawals from Arab territories did not win Israel new friends, nor greater security.  

For Palestinians like Imran Akram, frustration only builds as the promise of an end to the Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state are nowhere on the horizon.  He says U.S. mediators, Israel, and Palestinian leaders must find a solution -- soon.

"I am asking all the states to allow us to live in peace and let them live in peace," said the farmer Imran Akram. "When the Jewish settlers came and cut all my trees, I was just working. I'm just farming.  All my life is in these trees.  When they cut the trees, what's left for me?"  

As 2010 ends, the peace process is stalled with little hope that 2011 will bring an end to the conflict.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid