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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid