News / Middle East

Kerry Pushes for Gaza Truce

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat arrive at a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 23, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat arrive at a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 23, 2014.

 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is having separate talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on ending violence in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 600 people.  

With Israeli and Hamas forces continuing to fight in Gaza,  Kerry says there has been "some progress in moving towards" a cease-fire during the past 24 hours, but did not specify the nature of that progress.

More than two weeks into a battle that shows no signs of easing, Kerry met again with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who says they agree a cease-fire alone is not enough.

"Stop fighting.  Start talking," Ban urged. "And take on the root causes of the conflict so we are not back to the same situation in another six months or a year.  We must address these underlying issues including mutual recognition, occupation, despair, and denial of dignity."

The secretary was up much of the night in telephone diplomacy with Palestinian President Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of Qatar, Turkey, France, and Egypt.

He came to Israel and Ramallah to meet face-to-face with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to press an Egyptian cease-fire plan that Hamas rejected last week because it offers no guaranteed relief from the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza.

As the leader of a Fatah/Hamas reconciliation government, Abbas appears to have little influence over Hamas fighters firing rockets into Israel, despite positioning his Fatah faction as standing united against Israel.

American University professor Guy Ziv believes Palestinian divisions will only grow wider.

"The differences between Hamas and Fatah are deep.  The mistrust is significant.  And I do not expect the reconciliation to last," Ziv said.

Following their talks in Ramallah, Secretary Kerry said the Palestinian leader is committed to non-violence and creating a sustainable way forward for everyone.

"I am very grateful to President Abbas for his leadership, for his deep engagement in the effort to try to find a cease-fire.  He has traveled tirelessly," Kerry said.  "He has been working with all of the interested groups and parties and encouraging people to do the responsible thing, which is to come to the table, not only have a cease-fire, but then negotiate the immediate issues and the underlying issues."

Asked about a possible "demilitarization" of Gaza as part of a negotiated settlement, Kerry said "all of the issues of Gaza will be on the table."

WATCH: Related video by VOA's Zlatica Hoke

Gaza Victims of Israeli Offensivei
July 23, 2014 9:17 AM
Israel's deadly shelling of Gaza has entered a third week, with the death toll on the Palestinian side rising past 600, compared to about 30 in Israel. Zlatica Hoke has more in this report from Washington.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: maithe from: Paris, France
July 23, 2014 4:17 PM
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged : 'Stop fighting. Start talking '
Hard to believe ! So ...'childish' !!
Mr Moon try talking to the Hamas.... Go to Gaza and not Ramallah. Don't tell the others, do it yourself .

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 23, 2014 2:56 PM
Hamas seems to have carved itself out as another government, but tends to use Abbas’ PLO to gain international recognition. Yeah, Kerry and Moon want to evolve a progress.. “so we are not back to the same situation in another six months or a year”, but seems they are not fashioning something that can be lasting. “At least two years repletion is ok”, seems to be the idea. And how can they mean differently if they are accepting a union forming a unity government whose only common ground is “standing united against Israel”.

Meanwhile they claim to be talking about issues to bring “peace” in a two states solution. Do you see why it won’t ever work? ‘All options are on the table’ should include Israel refusing Hamas operating from inside it. It is very dangerous if Israel should agree peace with the Palestinians while Hamas is perched on its west coast like a bird of prey ready to strike. If there ever gets to the point of settlement and Hamas obtains autonomy whereby Israel will no longer check what goes in there, that will only mean welcome to another holocaust. God forbid!

by: meanbill from: USA
July 23, 2014 8:26 AM
The US is desperately trying to get a ceasefire, (without Israel giving any concessions), and get the Gaza Palestinians to return to the (status quo) of the Israel apartheid occupation that they have been living under since the Israeli's ignored the 2012 Israel/Hamas ceasefire agreement.... A ceasefire without a return to a UN peacekeeper enforced (2012 Israel/ Palestinian ceasefire agreement) is unacceptable, (and all the Palestinians dying now, would have died for nothing), and the Gaza Palestinians will keep fighting on, until the last rocket, RPG, or bullet is fired, (or until the Israeli's kill them).....

PEACE can only happen if the Israeli's return to a UN peacekeeper enforced (2012 Israel/Palestinian ceasefire agreement), and real negotiations to end the apartheid occupation of the Palestinian territories...... because the Israeli's don't want to give up the Palestinian territories that they have built Israeli homes and walls on, and still keep on expanding on the Palestinian occupied lands..... (Israel will use every excuse in the world, to keep the Palestinian occupied lands they seized and built homes on)..
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 23, 2014 3:11 PM
Except that justice these days means something different from the truth, but if truth be told, Meanbill will find out who is occupying whose territory. So-called occupied land/territory belongs to Israel - history will prove it. But why can't people who traveled from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and the surrounding cities return to their countries and end this occupation saga?

by: Matthew from: St Petersburg
July 23, 2014 8:16 AM
The killing will never end as long as the strong fail to stand with the innocent! Honor the IHL.

by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
July 23, 2014 8:11 AM
"Gaza officials said that so far in the 16-day conflict, 475 houses had been totally destroyed by Israeli fire and 2,644 partially damaged. Some 46 schools, 56 mosques and seven hospitals had also suffered varying degrees of destruction." -- Reuters (7-23-14)
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
July 23, 2014 10:31 AM
Israel want to revenge for the three killed teens. the story of rocket is a joke and is very rare that this rocket hit a target. The message that Israel want to deliver(Hamas we got back to you even many are suffering .this not the case of Israel

by: Randall Horton from: Oceanside CA
July 23, 2014 7:59 AM
No one was asking for a cease-fire during the Iraq or Afghan invasions.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 23, 2014 3:04 PM
No one is asking for a cease fire here either. it's all about talking. Israel has only proved ineffective to do what is expected of it in swift military precision that would have found what it wanted in Gaza. From the look of it, it's Israel that's even insinuating the cease fire - are they tired out already - while the Palestinians are busy politicking with attracting cheap popularity, pity and sympathy at the UN and elsewhere.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 23, 2014 9:48 AM
Hey Randall, the Russians and China asked for a ceasefire on the US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan...... (but), the US was searching for those Saddam (weapons of mass destruction), that Iraq supposedly had.... (and), the US was searching for the (twin tower destroyer), Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden, supposedly hiding in the mountains of Bora Bora Afghanistan.

by: Fred from: Colorado Springs
July 23, 2014 7:52 AM
You can all rest easy now, for the great blowhard John Kerry is on the scene.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs