News / Middle East

Kerry Reiterates US Position on Israeli Settlements

Kerry Urges Fast Israeli-Palestinian Border Agreementi
X
August 14, 2013 10:51 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has reiterated that Washington considers all Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territory to be illegitimate. Speaking during a visit to Brazil Tuesday, Kerry called for urgent establishment of borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. Zlatica Hoke reports.

"Kerry Urges Fast Israeli-Palestinian Border Agreement" - related video report by Zlatica Hoke

TEXT SIZE - +
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has voiced confidence that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will go ahead Wednesday, despite Palestinian anger over Israel's announcement of new housing in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.  The issue was the subject of more tough questions in Washington.

Speaking In Brasilia, the second stop of a South America trip, Secretary Kerry said it would be better that Israel not make settlement announcements while peace talks are ongoing.

Kerry reiterated the U.S. position describing new settlements as illegitimate, but said he does not believe the latest Israeli housing announcements threaten the second round of talks due to begin in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Israel approved construction of 942 new settlement homes, after a previous announcement that 1,200 new homes were being approved in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements.

Kerry said he talked by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he said had earlier stated his intention of announcing additional building in areas it is presumed would be in Israel as part of any future peace deal.

Kerry said he would talk with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who he described as committed to talks "because he believes that negotiation is what will resolve this issue."

"So we will continue to work this very, very closely with Israelis.  We will continue to work it very closely with Palestinians.  And our hope is that we get to the real issues on which we ought to be focusing which are the final status settlement, the final status issues, and I am very hopeful we will get there very, very soon," said Kerry.

On the eve of the talks, Palestinian officials continued to voice anger.

PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo was quoted [by AFP] as calling the housing announcements an "unprecedented expansion" of Israeli settlement policy, that threatened to "make talks fail even before they have started."

State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to go into further detail about what the U.S. has said to Israel in expressing "serious concern" about new housing.

"There are going to be parts of this process that are bumps in the road, ups and downs, that we have seen how this has played out in the past, and what we are focused on is moving forward with the future, and the process, and how we will deal with these bumps in the road," said Harf.

At the same time, Israel moved ahead with the first stage of its agreement to free 104 Palestinian prisoners under an agreement to get negotiations going.

Anthony Cordesman, a foreign policy analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that despite a track record that is "not hopeful," the fact that both sides are willing to talk offers some chance of success.

"Israel has to look around it and see an uncertain Arab world where it can be sure of Egypt or the level of extremism anywhere on its borders.  The Palestinians have to look around and realize that a lot of those pressures, like the settlements you mentioned, are making it harder and harder for them to ever have a state if they don't compromise and move forward," said Cordesman.

The State Department's Harf cautioned against comparisons between current efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and the one President Barack Obama tried to start in 2010.  They collapsed over the Israeli settlement issue.

"Both sides are at the table, operating in good faith.  There is a lot of history about why this hasn't worked in the past, but we are focused on the fact that both sides sit down at the table and say this is important, it is imperative, it is the right time, our leaders are committed to it, and so we are going to continue working with you on this to get to a better place," she said.

Harf said the United States is "in no way" throwing up its hands when it comes to Israeli settlement policy, or dismissing the issue.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Cox
August 30, 2013 11:29 PM
More illegal and provocative Israeli settlements must not derail the "peace" talks, according to the USA, and of course are not criticised by America.

Nor did the USA criticise Israel for its killing of 1,400 Palestinians during the Gaza Massacre, or its on-going blockade of Gaza - a humanitarian catastrophe, and illegal under international law.

But 1,400 Syrians killed by their Government or rebels and the USA is ready to invade that country.

Why the double standards. Could it be that destabilising Syria will benefit Israel?


by: Michael from: USA
August 14, 2013 9:22 AM
Secretary Kerry shouldn't fall for the Israeli trick of resting the argument on the issue of the moment

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid