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

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.