News / Middle East

Kerry: Israel, Palestinians Laying Groundwork for Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at Queen Alia International Airport, July 19, 2013. Kerry says Israel and the Palestinians will meet soon in Washington to finalize an agreement on relaunching peace negotiations for the
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at Queen Alia International Airport, July 19, 2013. Kerry says Israel and the Palestinians will meet soon in Washington to finalize an agreement on relaunching peace negotiations for the
Brian Padden
Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that Israeli and Palestinian officials will meet soon in Washington. While this does not mean that both sides have agreed to formal peace talks for the first time since 2010, Middle East analysts say this is a hopeful sign and that Kerry's persistent diplomatic efforts are making progress.
 
Kerry has made the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks a top priority, and on Friday he announced a breakthrough.

"We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct, final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This is a significant and welcome step forward," he said.
 
He made the announcement in Amman, Jordan, after returning from Ramallah, where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Kerry said details are being worked out, but Palestinian and Israeli officials will travel to Washington for initial talks within the next week or two. While this agreement is just a small step toward formal peace talks, regional experts say it is cause for hope.

Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt, said Kerry’s comprehensive approach to bringing both sides to the table is the most serious diplomatic effort in the region in 20 years.

“He’s brought the Arab states back to the game. He has appointed General [John] Allen to look at security issues. He’s focused very much on economic and business questions and as he’s been doing the last few days, in moving between Amman, Jordan and Ramallah in the West Bank, he obviously has been looking at the substantive issues to be negotiated,” said Kurtzer.

There are no easy solutions to the issues that separate the two sides. The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with a capital in East Jerusalem. And they set as a condition to negotiations that Israel accept the pre-1967 borders, which would expand Palestinian territory.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there should be no conditions, and some hardliners in his cabinet reject any border changes.

Ori Nir, spokesman for the Jewish-American group Americans for Peace Now, said getting the two sides to even agree to talk about the border issue would be a significant achievement.

“If Secretary Kerry really has found a way to get around this issue and remove it as an obstacle, which it had been for a long time, for serious negotiations, then I think that further enhances the hope,” said Nir.

VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns is traveling with Kerry, and he said little information is being shared with the media about these sensitive talks.

“He [Kerry] has kept this entire process very quiet, and again said that candid, private conversations are the very best way to give these negotiations a chance,” said Stearns.

This is the sixth trip Kerry has made to the Middle East since becoming secretary of state earlier this year.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davdon from: Europe
July 20, 2013 7:34 AM
"There are no easy solutions to the issues that separate the two sides. The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with a capital in East Jerusalem. And they set as a condition to negotiations that Israel accept the pre-1967 borders,"

So the Palestinians want what they are entitled to under International law
and they want the illegal settlements stopped.

How unreasonable of them

What does Israel want?

I love this bit
"which would expand Palestinian territory"
Forgot to mention that this is because much of their land is illegally stolen at the moment

by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
July 20, 2013 5:51 AM
jews and palestinians should just stay together and create a stronger nation that respects everyone.

lulasa...the president

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs