World News

Hollande: Jerusalem Should Be Capital of Israel and a Palestinian State

French President Francois Hollande is urging Israel and the Palestinians to finally make peace, saying Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.

Mr. Hollande made the comments while addressing Israel's parliament (the Knesset) late Monday, urging both sides to make gestures that could further advance the peace process.

He also sought to reassure Israel about negotiations between world powers and Iran, telling Israeli lawmakers France would never allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

Prior to the French president's speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel's right to exist as the Jewish state. Mr. Netanyahu also offered to go to Ramallah to speak to the Palestinian people.



Earlier Monday, Hollande called on Israel to stop building settlements in occupied territory, saying the construction complicates ongoing negotiations with the Palestinians.



"France opposes settlements, and we call for the halting of settlements because they complicate negotiations and make the two-state solution difficult."



Mr. Hollande spoke Monday at a joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began a fresh round of peace talks in July, committing to carry out the talks for nine months. The negotiations are taking place in private, but both sides have signaled that little progress has been made.

Mr. Abbas expressed frustration Monday with the slow pace and with the way Israel has engaged in the process, despite releasing some Palestinian prisoners.



"There is a misunderstanding amongst the Israelis that they are releasing prisoners in exchange for settlement activities, and this is not true. This led the Palestinian negotiating team to submitting their resignation. We have not yet looked into this resignation, and we have not said if we will agree on it or not. We have been continuing the negotiations for nine months."



More than one-half million Israeli settlers now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war that Palestinians envision as part of a future independent state. The international community rejects those settlements as illegal.

Meanwhile, a series of U.N.-backed building projects in the Gaza Strip have come to a halt.

UNRWA media advisor Adnan Abu Hasna told Reuters Television that workers at most have sites have simply run out of material.



"Israel bans construction material for the private sector and the international organizations. Due to this we halted work on 20 building projects. The costs of these projects are $75 million. These projects include building schools, housing units, clinics and infrastructure inside refugee camps.''



Israel imposed a ban on building materials after it discovered a Hamas-built tunnel last month. Israel alleged militants planned to use the tunnel for attacks inside its territory.

Neighboring Egypt has also closed smuggling tunnels used to take goods between Israel and Gaza. The United Nations says that move has caused the economic situation in the Gaza Strip, where unemployment is at 30 percent, to worsen.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs