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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid