News / Middle East

Kerry, Abbas Meet in Paris on Framework for Two-State Solution

Kerry, Abbas Meet in Paris on Framework for Two-State Solutioni
X
February 20, 2014 5:21 AM
John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have met in Paris as part of the Obama administration's effort to craft a framework for negotiations on a Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the French capital.
Kerry, Abbas Meet in Paris on Framework for Two-State Solution
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are meeting in Paris as part of Obama administration efforts to craft a framework for what an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace accord might look like.

U.S. officials say Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet at an important moment in negotiations on a two state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as Kerry works to narrow differences over the boundaries of a Palestinian state and over the status of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as their capital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has questioned the seriousness of Palestinian leaders at a time when there are divisions within his own coalition government.  Former U.S. ambassador Philip Wilcox says that makes finding agreement on a two-state solution even harder.

"Nations generally make peace when they believe they have a shared interest in peace.  I am not persuaded that the current Israeli coalition under Benjamin Netanyahu believes they have a common interest with the Palestinians in making peace," said  Wilcox.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has little incentive to compromise, says American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett, pursuing instead what she calls a "Fortress Israel" approach.

"There is no incentive for a resolution that would actually give the Palestinians something.  The incentive is to continue to build Fortress Israel.  And part of the incentive to build Fortress Israel is to continue to have these threats.  To have Iran as a threat.  To have the Palestinians as a threat, but over there," said Leverett.

President Abbas is facing internal opposition to a peace deal with Israelis in negotiations that appear less about reaching compromise and more about winning Washington's support, says Foundation for Middle East Peace research director Geoffrey Aronson.

"It seems from the outside, in contrast that the discussions over the last nine months have been essentially bilateral discussions between one of the parties and the United States, rather than between the parties themselves, " said Aronson.

Washington leading these negotiations gives the Obama administration credibility on other regional issues, says Hillary Mann Leverett.

"Strategically for the United States it allows other countries like the Saudis, like the Egyptians to partner with us in ways that would otherwise be impossible for them.  Because if we were just supporting what the Israelis are doing in the West Bank and Gaza, King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia could not give Secretary of State Kerry the time of day," she said.

While in the French capital Wednesday, Kerry also discussed the Middle East peace process with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who said "all final status issues touch the very heart of Jordanian interests."

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs