News / Middle East

    Kerry Returns to Israel for Peace Talks

    FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 10, 2013. FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 10, 2013.
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    FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 10, 2013.
    FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 10, 2013.
    VOA News
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry headed back to the Middle East on Thursday, a week after his previous visit ended with Palestinian dissatisfaction over U.S. ideas for an elusive peace deal with Israel.

    Kerry's scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem was postponed due to the snowstorm which hit the city.

    But the top U.S. diplomat is expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank.

    The State Department says Kerry will "continue the conversation" from his visit with Israeli and Palestinian leaders last week as the two sides continue to negotiate the major issues of a long-sought peace deal.

    State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the meetings would cover "all of the issues that are on the table," including security.

    Kerry said last week he believed they were closer to an agreement than they have been in years.

    On Monday, he met with Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat in Washington for about three hours.

    Israel and the Palestinians relaunched the U.S.-brokered talks in late July, and agreed to continue meeting for nine months.

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    by: Dr. M.H. Cameron from: UK
    December 12, 2013 12:30 PM
    From whom did Israel capture the West Bank? From the Palestinians? NO! In 1967 there was NO Arab nation or state by the name of Palestine. Actually was there ever? So, who's territory is it? Until 1917 the Ottoman Empire occupied the whole region. After losing in WW1 the Ottomans relinquished their 500 year control to the allied forces which decided to divide the old empire into countries. Britain recognized the Jews historical right to their homeland. A small area equivalent to about half of 1% of the Middle East was designated for this purpose. however, do you realize what happened? The Jewish homeland not only included the West Bank, but also the East Bank of the Jordan River.

    I suppose you cannot say that the Jewish people have not accepted some painful compromises, already. With the British Mandate ending, UN general assembly resolution #181, recommended the establishment of two states; one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted it and went on to create the nation of Israel in 1948. While the Arabs refused a compromise and launched a war to destroy the newly established nation. At the end of the war, a cease fire line was formed, (armistice line, 1949), and both sides stopped fighting. At the insistence of the Arab leaders, this line was defined as having NO political significance.

    So, although this line is commonly referred to as the "1967 border", it is NOT from 1967, and it was never an international border. Israel's presence in the West Bank is the result of self defense. The West Bank should not be considered "occupied", because there was no previous legal sovereign in the area. And therefore, the real definition should be "disputed" territory. The 1947 partition plan has no current legal standing, while Israel's claim to the land was clearly recognized by the international community during the 20th century.That is why the presence of Israeli settlements and construction in the West Bank should NOT be considered illegal. So what is the solution to the dispute over the West Bank? Fortunately the solution lies in God's Word, and His unbreakable covenants and promises to his chosen people. Any negotiations must be based on legal and historical FACTS.

    by: Tamika Bond from: USA
    December 12, 2013 11:40 AM
    i don't understand what it is we are trying to do to israel... split the little country and give it to Hamas??? or Iran?? what are we doing??? hey Kerry, the Arabs have 56 countries...!!! the "philistines" are Jordanian and Iraqi Arabs... Israel is a Christian/Jewish country.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    December 12, 2013 7:51 AM
    What is there to talk about for nine months? Israel accepts to make peace with Palestine, but that is conditional. Hamas is in Gaza continuing to press Iranian and Hezbollah agenda of obliteration of Israel. When eventually a deal is struck, what will be the position of Hamas? Is this so that Iran and Hezbollah can get closer to implement their dastardly demand on Israel? Two states resolution, agreed, but do the Palestinians belong to one state? Are the two states of Palestine (Gaza and West Bank) equally party to the agenda of peace? There is no point wasting time on processes that are known to be futile and will definitely fail at the end.

    From every indication, the Israeli-Palestinian deal cannot take hold if Hamas continues to be pro-Iran, and Hezbollah is perched in the north of the country brandishing the same agenda of annihilation. It does not and cannot work. All parties to the conflict must agree to the peace of each other. Once a musician sang, "I don't want no peace, I want equal right." Equal right here means that Israel is willing to live side by side in peace with its neighbors. But its neighbors don't even want to hear Israel's name as part of the region. So what peace is Kerry, Obama, and by default USA trying to broker? If ever this comes off the ground, it will be like a castle built in the air, with no foundation.

    Therefore, Hamas to which a large chunk of Palestinians belong, Hezbollah which is most of Lebanon, and the Arab League must show positive signs of cooperation with Israel for any peace deal to be meaningful. Otherwise it will be a one-sided deal favoring a fast-forwarding of the islamic Iran's agenda to wipe Israel out of world map. What Israels wants is not just peace, it wants assurance of its security in the region and in the place they have as home. There will be no proper peace with Hamas and Hezbollah armed to the teeth rearing to go. No. No peace deal until Hamas either changes its agenda orientation, gets integrated to West Bank Palestinians with one government, and Hezbollah disarmed, dissolved or disorientated from the nihilist project against Israel. Then and only then can Israel live in peace and security, to be able also to give and share same with its neighbors in equal rights and justice.

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