News / Middle East

Kerry Faces More Hurdles in Pursuit of Mideast Peace

Kerry Faces More Hurdles in Pursuit of Mideast Peacei
X
January 08, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the latest efforts to secure a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians are slowly but surely making progress. But as he prepares for his 11th trip to the region as secretary of state, not everyone shares his optimism. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
TEXT SIZE - +
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the latest efforts to secure a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians are slowly but surely making progress. But as he prepares for his 11th trip to the region as secretary of state, not everyone shares his optimism.

A determined and confident Kerry, when leaving Israel earlier this week, told reporters talks are on the right track.
 
"The path is becoming clearer.  The puzzle is becoming more defined," said Kerry.
 
But in a West Bank village on Tuesday there was more confusion and violence.
 
"I was working on my land along with my tractor driver and we sat down to eat and have lunch. Suddenly around 30 [Jewish] settlers came towards us. We ran away and we started shouting and asking for help,"  said farmer Mahmood Tobasi.

Israel's military said it responded to reports of stone-throwing between settlers and Palestinian farmers, later evacuating 11 settlers.
 
It's in situations like this that U.S. talk of moving toward a framework agreement - getting the core issues in focus - starts to falls short.
 
Neil Kritz with the U.S. Institute of Peace says that those directly must feel that the process is impacting their lives.
 
“People need to see that this negotiation results also in positive changes on a day to day basis. Not just efforts to make things look better, but real efforts that are not just way stations, that move in the direction of a Palestinian state and a two-state solution,” says Kritz.
 
Yet wherever Palestinians and Israelis look, there are still signs that little, so far, has changed, whether it’s Israel's continued building of settlements on contested lands or Palestinians celebrating the release of prisoners, men Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called murderers.
 
"Instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel," said Netanyahu.
 
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat took his own shots, suggesting to London-based Asharq Al-Awsat he fears for the life of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, referencing old, discredited allegations that Israel poisoned the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
 
Yet there are those who think a framework agreement is still possible. Among them is Aaron Miller from the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
 
“Part of the reality is that this is driven by two leaders who don’t want to be blamed for the collapse of this process," says Miller.
 
But Miller, a former State Department adviser who has been a part of past negotiations, says getting much further with Netanyahu and Abbas will be a challenge.
 
“The reality is, to do this you need them to be heroic peacemakers because they strategically have bought off on this and they are prepared to make the kinds of decisions, take the kinds of decisions necessary.  That’s not the case here,” says Miller.
 
For now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seems determined to try.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid