News / Middle East

Israel Signals Readiness to Consider Land Swap

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office on June 2, 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office on June 2, 2013.
Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled readiness on Wednesday to consider a 2002 Arab peace plan whose terms were recently softened to include possible land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians.
 
“We are listening to every initiative - the Arab initiative has been mentioned - and we are prepared to discuss initiatives that are proposals and not edicts,” he said in a speech in parliament.
 
Netanyahu spoke during a debate on the plan, proposed at an Arab League summit 11 years ago. Israel had rejected the initiative that offered normalized ties for it with much of the Arab world, citing its call for complete withdrawal from land captured in the 1967 Middle East war as a main stumbling block.
 
Israel occupied the West Bank, Arab East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, areas Palestinians seeks for a future state, in that conflict.
 
Echoing previous Israeli leaders, Netanyahu has ruled out a return to pre-1967 war frontiers, calling them indefensible.
 
But a month ago, Arab states appeared to soften the 2002 plan when Sheik Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, said Israel and the Palestinians could trade land rather than conform exactly to the 1967 lines.
 
Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, has never endorsed the idea of territorial exchange publicly. A 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 said he expressed support for the concept in a meeting with U.S. legislators.
 
In his address to the legislature, Netanyahu repeated a call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return unconditionally to peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over continued Israeli settlement building on occupied land.
 
Abbas has said Israel must first stop settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before the U.S.-hosted negotiations can resume.
 
“Since he [Abbas] doesn't speak Hebrew, and my Arabic is not great, I am calling on him in a language we both know and saying to him, 'Give peace a chance,’” Netanyahu said, switching to English to utter the phrase.
 
“Don't miss the opportunity,” he added, saying he was prepared to make “difficult decisions to move negotiations ahead” but cautioning he would take no moves that would jeopardize Israeli security.
 
Abbas said on Tuesday “the ball is in the Israeli court” and Israel needed to accept the Palestinians' demand for a settlement freeze so that talks could begin.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to restart the negotiations. He has made four trips to the region since taking office four months ago and a State Department spokeswoman said on Tuesday he could return to Israel and the Palestinian territories as early as next week.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lakota Sioux from: USA
June 05, 2013 7:48 PM
LOVE from US... little country...
we send you our love and we dance in your honor
for you are the beloved of the great spirit

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid