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
    X
    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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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 absurd.it 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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.