News / Middle East

Israel Confident Diplomatic Crisis With US Will Blow Over

Multimedia

Audio
Luis Ramirez

Israel's foreign minister says his country has no intention of halting the expansion of a settlement in East Jerusalem that is fueling what some officials say is the worst rift in relations with Washington in decades.

Israeli police clashed with Palestinian demonstrators in East Jerusalem, throwing stun grenades and firing tear gas to disperse the mostly young Palestinians who pelted police with rocks.

The sporadic violence also spread to several villages and towns in the West Bank, including Ramallah and Nablus. Demonstrations also took place in the Gaza Strip.

For a fifth consecutive day, thousands of Israeli police deployed around East Jerusalem, including the Old City. Israeli national police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told VOA authorities continue to restrict entry by Palestinians to the Old City.

"The age limit is all males from the age of 50 and upwards are allowed on the Temple Mount area," said Rosenfeld. "Apart from that, the Temple Mount is closed to visitors, to Israelis, to Muslims, to foreigners. This is a measure that is necessary to be taken in order to prevent any disturbances or any injuries around that area."

Tensions have been fueled by the belief among Palestinians that Israeli Jews are extending their claims over East Jerusalem. The latest clashes erupted after Jews re-dedicated a synagogue not far from the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem years after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, in a move not recognized by the international community.

Tens of thousands of Jewish residents have since moved in, angering Palestinians who claim the east of the city as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The United States has demanded that Israel stop or restrict expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, pending final status negotiations with the Palestinians.

There was no sign of Israel backing down. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke on Israeli radio and rebuffed Washington's demands, describing them as unreasonable.

The top Israeli diplomat said he believes the diplomatic crisis with Washington will, over time, calm down. He said Israel will not accept a situation where only the Jews are not permitted to build in Jerusalem, while Arabs are allowed to build and buy.  

The Obama administration condemned Israel's decision last week to approve the construction of 1,600 housing units for Jewish residents in an East Jerusalem settlement. Israel angered Washington by announcing the decision as Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Jerusalem.

U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell had been due in Israel in an effort to get Israelis and Palestinians to start indirect negotiations. Mr. Mitchell postponed his visit to an unspecified date.

Israelis and Palestinians two weeks ago agreed to hold the talks, but the Palestinians say they might not engage in the negotiations as long as Israel keeps building settlements.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib laid out conditions for a return to talks.

He said the Palestinians want a guarantee from the United States that Israel will stop all kind of occupation activity, especially settlement expansion.

He said the Palestinians are also demanding that all issues, including the status of Jerusalem, be part of the negotiations, which he said should be carried out according to a timeline.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs