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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid