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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid