News / Middle East

    Kerry: Mideast Peace Deal Closest in Years

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
    x
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry picks up his notebook after answering questions from members of the media before his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
    Scott Bobb
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he believes Israel and the Palestinians are closer to a peace agreement than they have been in years at the end of a three-day trip to the region.  
     
    Kerry told reporters Friday before leaving Israel that despite the obstacles he was encouraged by the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the pursuit of peace.
     
    "Together there is no doubt in my mind we can reach an agreement that will support the peaceful and promising Palestine that the Palestinian people deserve alongside a prosperous and a more secure Israel," said Kerry.
     
    Kerry's visit came amid reports that the talks were faltering over Israeli concerns about security in the West Bank and Palestinian anger over the continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
     
    The talks resumed four months ago after a three-year suspension. They are to continue for another five months.
     
    Kerry dismissed media speculation of a breakdown in the talks saying the two sides have maintained regular discussions.
     
    He also declined to provide details on reports that U.S. mediators have made proposals regarding security in the Palestinian territories but indicated that such an effort was underway.
     
    "If Israel's security cannot be increased through this agreement it's very difficult to make an agreement," said Kerry. "So we are making certain that we are addressing each and every one of those questions."
     
    Kerry also sought to ease Israeli alarm over the recently concluded interim agreement on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
     
    Under the accord, Iran agreed to freeze any work on this program in exchange for a partial lifting of international economic sanctions that have hurt its economy.
     
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.
    x
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference following a meeting at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2013.
    Netanyahu has repeatedly called it a bad agreement. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
     
    Kerry said he was convinced that Israel is safer as a result of the accord.
     
    "Israel and the United States are absolutely in synch (agreement), not an ounce of daylight between us, with respect to the need to make sure that Iran cannot achieve a nuclear weapon, will not in the future be able to achieve it and certainly cannot move towards it without the United States of America and Israel knowing that, and therefore being able to take steps to deal with that," Kerry said.
     
    He said the accord provided the best opportunity to resolve the concerns of the international community and pledged to return to the region in a few weeks if necessary.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: PermReader
    December 07, 2013 2:56 PM
    Muslims and particularly Arabs openly speak and teach their children that the Zionists must be obliterated.There are many supporters of this dream in the West.What agreement can be reached with these Israel haters? -Just words.

    by: Drew Barry from: USA
    December 07, 2013 11:46 AM
    Kerry, a real creep that belongs to the Northern California club, Bohemian Grove. What a creep!!!

    by: Connie from: USA
    December 07, 2013 11:41 AM
    Kerry is a Liar and a Fraud. He is an admitted member of BOHEMIAN GROVE, yet the so-called "secretary of state". Ludicrous!!!

    by: Pascal from: France
    December 07, 2013 11:08 AM
    talking about a Philistine State... what happened to the Billion and Billions of Dollars poured into that corrupt "Philistine Authority" - all the Arabs are still pouring into Israel in search of employment... let me tell you - sufficient money has been poured into this PA depravity to make every degenerate Suicide murderer a millionaire...

    by: Evangelical from: Christ
    December 07, 2013 9:53 AM
    VOA, I am confused... who should i believe... those Arabs who write in English and tell me that what the Philistines want is "peace" with Israel or those Arabs who write in Arabic on official Philistines web sites and proclaim and want the destruction of Israel..??

    by: Nazarene from: Church
    December 07, 2013 9:05 AM
    we all understand the game here... the destruction of Israel...!!! they couldn't do it by external force (thought they tried four times...) now they hope they can do it through these pestilential organizations... Hamas, Fatha, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda,
    its hilarious to listen to the Arabs here - LOL... you would think that they are angelic humanitarians... look what they do to each other in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq... the list of their depravities is endless... now, Get the Hell Out of Israel... all of it!!!

    by: Maria from: Italy
    December 07, 2013 8:45 AM
    Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah..... the Philistines have a country - its called Jordan - a Muslim place they feel at home... a country that will treat them just like they deserve... a country that knows how to treat Arabs... Israel is a progressive liberal country... unsuited for the depraved Philistines and their Hamas and Hizbullas... of course they would like Israel far more than say Syria or Iraq or even Egypt... but Jordan is their place...

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    December 07, 2013 7:05 AM
    Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff a million and a half people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to do that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland. Israel is creator and perpetrator of the Gaza horror. Only the destruction of the racist Jewish state will curtail its quest to impose holocaust level horror on all goyim.

    by: randy from: Indiana
    December 07, 2013 5:09 AM
    This has been going on for how many years now. the solution is for the United States to cut off all aid to Israel until they step up to the plate and recognize the Palestinian government and Palestine as its own state. even the UN recognizes it.

    by: Chagrined from: USA
    December 07, 2013 3:13 AM
    Israel will not be a partner in peace with the Palestinians until its benefactor, America, tells Israel, "No peace," No American tax dollars."
    American tax dollars are stolen to build homes for Jewish settlers on Palestinian land. This is vulgar and unacceptable and generates disgust and distrust of Jews and Israel who worship the God of Greed!
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora