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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid