News / Middle East

    Israelis, Palestinians Reflect on Peace Talk Crisis

    Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (R) gestures as he signs a request to join 15 United Nations agencies at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 1, 2014.
    Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (R) gestures as he signs a request to join 15 United Nations agencies at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 1, 2014.
    Robert Berger
    Middle East peace negotiations are in crisis a month ahead of a looming April 29 agreement deadline.

    Ordinary Israelis and Palestinians have been skeptical about the talks since they resumed in July after a five-year deadlock. And the latest snag comes as no surprise.

    At the checkpoint into the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Palestinian computer programmer Saleh Zaharan blamed Secretary of State Kerry for failing to pressure Israel.

    “He has the power to force the Israelis to follow the peace process correctly," Zaharan said. "He has the power to do this but we didn’t feel that he is serious to do this.”

    Palestinian student Razi Abu Tier said Israel’s failure to release the prisoners shows that it is not negotiating in good faith.

    “If Israelis claim that they want peace, I don’t think that the language of ultimatums is the one to be used. I think it’s improper. It’s threatening,” he said.

    In Jewish West Jerusalem, accountant Larry Kaufman said the Arab Spring revolutions and the strife in Syria, Iraq and Egypt show that the peace process is a farce.

    “How can we really have an arrangement, how can we have an agreement with the Palestinians in this supposed ‘two-state-solution,’ when you turn on your television and see them killing each other?" Kaufman asked. "It’s just an untenable situation.”

    Israeli Devorah Eilon is pessimistic.

    “I’m not optimistic about peace at all because we don’t have a peace partner," she said. "There’s an element that’s always referred to as our ‘peace partner,’ but we know that they’re not really looking for peace.”

    Despite the deep suspicion and skepticism, polls show that many Israelis and Palestinians still support the negotiations. After a long period of calm in Israel and the West Bank, many people concede that talking is better than fighting.

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    Comments
         
    by: mark from: south africa
    April 02, 2014 4:24 PM
    How can I have peace with my neighbour when his wife throws poison on my lawn. What value is peace with fatah even if that were possible when hamas will never accept any deal they do and continue attacking israel

    by: don ford from: azle,tx
    April 02, 2014 2:43 PM
    When you have one country ( Israel) which considers it a grave breach of the peace process for the other party to apply to join legitimate UN agencies it unmasks their deliberate sabotage of the peace process.

    by: stevo from: Las Vegas
    April 02, 2014 2:42 PM
    Come on Israel and the Palestinians. It's time to stop fighting and time to sign agreements. People of both sides, vote for people who are willing to make the peace. Stop blaming outside countries or people. This is between Israel and the Palestinian people.

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