News / Middle East

Israeli, Palestinian Officials Meet

Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials have held talks ahead of a planned Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, as top diplomats from the United States and Europe push to avert a showdown that could crush already dim Mideast peace prospects.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad met Sunday in New York with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.  The French News Agency quoted Fayyad as saying the two officials discussed security issues and the Palestinian Authority's readiness to govern.

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations have all said the Palestinian Authority - which governs the West Bank - is capable of running its own state.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she discussed "the way forward" in efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations during a meeting Sunday with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.  But Clinton declined to reveal if mediators are making progress.

A group of key donors to the Palestinian Authority also called for a resumption of peace talks after holding a meeting Sunday.  Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the committee that future economic aid from Israel could be "severely and irreparably" compromised if Palestinians continue with the planned U.N. bid.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will seek full U.N. membership for an independent Palestinian state later this week, despite strong U.S. and Israeli opposition.

The Palestinian government relies on foreign donors to help make up its yearly budget, which the IMF says is facing a $300 million shortfall for this year. The Palestinian Authority also receives tax and customs revenue that Israel collects on its behalf.

Senior envoys from the Mideast Quartet - the U.S., EU, U.N. and Russia - also met in New York Sunday.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair - who serves as a Quart envoy - said Sunday that mediators will be looking for a way that allows Palestinians' "legitimate aspirations" to be recognized while renewing talks with Israel.  He told ABC News that direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are "the only thing that will produce a state."

Abbas said in Ramallah Friday that U.N. membership is a legitimate right for Palestinian people. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus, in talks with his Cabinet Sunday, predicted the Palestinians' U.N. statehood bid will fail.

The U.S. says it will use its veto on the U.N. Security Council against a Palestinian application for full statehood.  

Even with a loss in the Security Council, the Palestinians are expected to take their case to the 193-member General Assembly, where a simple majority could grant a more symbolic recognition. The Palestinians currently hold observer status at the United Nations.

U.S.-mediated peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled a year ago, after an Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlement construction expired. Palestinians oppose construction on land they want as part of a future state.

Abbas has said a Palestinian state must have the borders in place before Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

American envoys have been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to revive direct talks and forestall the Palestinian statehood bid.    

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to meet with Netanyahu when both are at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs