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

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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid