News / Middle East

Israelis, Palestinians Pessimistic About Peace Talks

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (L-R) and Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni speak at a news conference at the end of talks at the State Department in Washington, July 30, 2013. I
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (L-R) and Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni speak at a news conference at the end of talks at the State Department in Washington, July 30, 2013. I
Robert Berger
As Israeli and Palestinian chief negotiators held a second day of peace talks in Washington, pessimism prevailed back home.
 
Israelis and Palestinians are deeply skeptical about the talks and are watching events unfold with a negative sense of déjà vu.
 
The on-again, off-again talks have spanned 20 years, with failures, disappointments and cycles of violence. A final peace agreement on a Palestinian state remains elusive and there is rampant distrust. 
 
On the streets of Jewish West Jerusalem, Rachel Beckerman was upset that Israel plans to release 104 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture, including those involved in deadly terrorist attacks. 
 
“The idea of doing concessions or gestures for peace, I think is a mistake because those gestures are interpreted as weakness and it basically makes our negotiating more difficult,” she said.
 
Another Israeli, Pesach Schindler, recalled Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Two years later, the Palestinian militant group Hamas took over and since then, thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel. He said the Israeli government led people astray with promises of peace. 
 
“Land for peace hasn’t worked. We gave back the Gaza Strip and that blew up in their face,” noted Schindler. 
 
In the Arab bazaar, in Jerusalem’s walled Old City that borders West Jerusalem, Palestinians too were pessimistic.
 
The market was decked out with flashing lights and festive music as Palestinians celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
 
The mood was more somber when it comes to the peace process. Shopkeeper Adel Jafari said Israel’s hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is incapable of making concessions for peace.
 
“The Israelis they are ruled by very extreme right wing. For them to give anything, it’s really, really hard," he said.
 
Another Palestinian merchant, Saed Yagmur, said there is plenty of blame to go around. 
 
“I don’t hope anything because I think it’s both of us: We and the Israelis are not ready for peace,”  Yagmur said.
 
Despite the atmosphere of doubt, many people on both sides concede that it is better to talk than to fight. 
 

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid