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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More