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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid