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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid