News / Middle East

Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Continue Despite Many Challenges

Multimedia

Audio

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas might not agree on much entering negotiations, but analysts said they have something in common.  Both are in precarious political situations.

Newspaper columns in Israel and the Palestinian territories have placed little hope that these negotiations will accomplish what decades of attempts at peace have failed to do.  Others have expressed optimism that the talks have at least made it into a second day.

The skepticism is fueled by the perception that both leaders are negotiating from weak positions.

Both leaders pressured by partners

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from his right-wing coalition partners, who want no concessions on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has exceeded his term in office and does not represent the Gaza Strip - home to more than one million Palestinians.

Analyst Rami Nasrallah, head of the International Peace and Cooperation Center in Jerusalem, says Mr. Abbas cannot afford to back down on his threats to quit the talks if Israel does not extend a partial freeze on settlement construction that expires on September 26.

"The main concern of President Abbas is that the Palestinian state, in terms of physical reality, contiguity, will not be possible if this settlement expansion will continue," said Nasrallah.  "That's why he is scared that this negotiation is going to fail, because the direct meaning of the failure of the negotiations is that he will lose his legitimacy."

Need for coexistence amid territorial dispute

Israelis and Palestinians differ on whether there should be a Palestinian state or whether Israel should remove West Bank settlements.  Most people on both sides agree, though, that there is a need for peace and coexistence.

One Palestinian resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, a frequent flashpoint for tensions between Arabs and Jews, lives across the barbed wire fence of the Kiryat Arba Jewish settlement.  He said he remembers better times.  He said there was a time when he and settlers of Kiryat Arba got along well.  But, he said, that when bloodshed began between Israelis and Palestinians, relations deteriorated.

A Jewish resident of the nearby Beit Haggai settlement said she wishes for a return of the days when both groups shopped in each other's stores and lived without fear.  

"I'd like to be able to, just as when I drive in my rock-proof car, so that I'm not going to have my head smashed by a rock, and I see the Arabs walking on the side of the road without fear," said the interviewed Jewish resident of the Beit Haggai settlement.  "I'd like to be able to do that also.  I'd like to be able to live in a peaceful area without being scared of being shot or stoned to death."

Proactive U.S. role lauded

Analyst Rami Nasrallah said he will be surprised if leaders of the two sides reach any kind of deal.  He said that for the Palestinians, an agreement will be meaningful only if it gives them self-determination.

"Today it's more important to have collective rights, national rights, rather than have interaction.  Maybe later on, when there will be a comprehensive peace between the two sides, it will be much, much more easy to interact between the two communities with a much more equal basis - but not under occupation, between the one who eats the hummus in [Arab] East Jerusalem and the one who will buy some Israeli products in some of the [Israeli] shopping malls," said Nasrallah.

Despite what he deemed as political weaknesses in both the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships, Nasrallah said there is room for optimism thanks to the proactive role the United States is taking.

He said the success of the peace process might depend on U.S. efforts to prod both sides toward an agreement.

Related video by Luis Ramirez:

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
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